Social media giant YouTube is taking a step to help clean up its site’s comment sections. All users are being asked to use their real names, and in turn hopes that will cut down on the vile comments that are left on videos posted to the web. The theory is that if users are held accountable for what they say, that they will be less likely to harass others in the comment sections under posted videos.
There are certain safety issues that are faced, however, by implementing a rule like this. People don’t want to use their real name on line (which is going to be taken from their Google + account), though Google is taking measures to beef up personal security. YouTube, being the leader that it is, will most likely not face a perceivable loss in users, but what could this mean for the way we use the internet?
The internet has become a place for people to come together, share ideas, and socialize with the ability to reveal as little detailed information as they like. Unfortunately this anonymity is also what has given rise to some of the most vitriolic comments on the internet. These users seldom pass on an opportunity to offend, denigrate, and tear down those they seem fit. All one has to do is see reaction to any controversial topic posted on these social media sites to know how terrible the name calling and mudslinging can get.
While personal freedoms should be protected, the internet shouldn’t become a cesspool of trolls ready to hop on anything they can get their hands on. A mother posting a video of her baby, a guy playing a cover song, etc. shouldn’t be faced with constant, unprovoked vitriol. The problem, though, is we’ve become too complicit with how we deal with these trolls. Everyone laughs at and ridicules Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” and since it became such a “popular” thing to do, we excused even the most inflammatory of remarks. The fact is that those comments are just as hurtful any other bashing that takes place on the internet.
It also brings into question the effectiveness of this policy. What is users don’t comply? What if the hatred doesn’t cease? Well, the good thing is that those people can still be held accountable for what they do say. As for those that hold on to their troll facade (something that most like ends in “69” or references their “awesomeness”), at least they can be singled out. They’ll stick out like a sore thumb, and therefore can be ignored. When you know someone is intentionally trying to hurt others, it takes the sting out a little versus having the perception that these are actual functional, rational, and decent members of society.
The new policy is good. It might ruffle a few feathers, and it might not even be effective in the least. But it is commendable that there are outlets out there that are blocking the thing that at times it thrives on, in an effort to protect its users’ feelings. It’s not something that you see everyday.