Google+ has demonstrated how serious it is about user identities by banning accounts that seem to be using fake names and discussing ways in which celebrity identities can be verified. Several groups, including the hacktivist organization Anonymous, have also been banned for community standards violations.
Strict Naming Policies and an Accidental Shatner Shutdown
Google+ has a policy that users must use their real name or a name they use in everyday life on their Google+ profile. Accounts that seem to be using a fake name have been banned, causing some turbulence among users with abnormal names.
The account of Rowan Thunder, an individual quite upset by his account being banned for his name, did have his account reactivated once Google representatives found that this was actually the name he used in everyday life. Thunder stated, "As of 1900h PST, 11 July, my account has been reinstated, and I did receive an apology in regards to the incorrect decision made about my profile."
More amusing, William Shatner had his account shut down for violating Google+ standards. While neither Google nor Shatner have provided details on those violations, it's likely that Google thought the "Star Trek" legend was impersonating himself. His account, according to CNET, has also been reinstated.
To avoid accidental shutdowns and impersonations, Google is working to create a verification process for celebrities. As reported by CNN, Hollywood consultant Brett Schulte has been in discussions with Google on ways that celebrity identities can be verified. Credit card or phone number verification might be used, but deals with major celebrity agents is a more likely solution.
Google Bans Anonymous, Spawns a Social Network
Anonymous, the hacktivist group most famous for a series of DDoS (denial of service) attacks on a range of major websites in December of last year, was banned from the Google+ social network for community standards violations.
Anonymous responded by criticizing Google for the choice, comparing it to anti-free speech decisions made in authoritarian nations. Anonymous then announced their own social network.
The Anonymous social network, known as AnonPlus, is "a new social network where there is no fear of censorship, of blackout, nor of holding back." The site temporarily showed a welcome page with a message about the social network, but that page has since been removed, apparently after being hacked.
Several suspected Anonymous group members were arrested July 19. Anonymous has been broadcasting little but radio silence since.