Google wants your real name on YouTube

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

If you try to comment on YouTube, you will be prompted to change your username to your real name, blogger Jim Younkin has discovered.

The prompt screen.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

With the furore caused by Google's insistence on real names on its Google+ network (one that was ultimately solved by a verification program) still fresh in our minds, the internet giant is now trying to get YouTube users to switch over to their real names on the video streaming website.

The prompt won't appear until you try to make a comment — so if you're a "silent" YouTube user, it won't affect you at all. Which indicates to us that perhaps this is an attempt to minimise the amount of bullying that occurs on the site — websites on which people are forced to interact under their real names often have a lower rate of trolling.

The prompt will automatically scrape your name from your Google+ account — so, if you're operating on G+ under a pseudonym, you have little to worry about.

Google's list of possible reasons why you might not want to switch.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

However, if you're happy with the current status quo, you're under absolutely no obligation to change your user name at all — although Google will ask you why you don't want to make the change, offering you six options to choose from (one of which is the always-handy "I don't know").

CNET Australia has contacted Google for comment.

Will you make the change to your real name?

Add Your Comment 18

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pepa posted a comment   

It's correct. Social (any way to communicate) but real name. Real name it's different from privacy. If i want privacy in my words i write a personal mail or directly. Real names in social networks.


pepa posted a comment   

Correct. Social, with any way, free...but real name.


StevenL1 posted a comment   

This is a great idea to help prevent cyber bullying. They made this change on our local news paper's web site and it has prevented some personal attacks. Now I know that this will not completely eliminate these commets by some do not want their commets attached to their name. If you wan't to attach people then you need to own it. I like that google has allowed an option. If you are not willing to own your commets then you don't get to commet.


AutumnH posted a comment   

this is all well and good but when I declined to answer I now have issues commenting on things. I cannot reply to any comments I receive.


AlexB5 posted a comment   

The whole corporate world wants people as much as possible to be more public and have little to no privacy.


ZoranZ1 posted a comment   

It would be nice to have the option, i rejected the change


ZoranZ1 posted a reply   

this thing cut off my post :S

I see the upside to showing peoples real names to slow the cyber hard-**** esdown, but its also going to give the creepy stalker types access to peoples real names.


Chandler posted a reply   

Don't complain about the post getting cut off - I commented on the original article a day or so and for some reason they've reposted it and lost my comments -.-

In regards to the issue at hand, it doesn't bother me: I've already put my real name to my Google Local reviews (I'm surprised there's not as much of an uproar there...), and I rarely comment on Youtube anyway, so when I do, I'm not bothered by my name being there. I'd actually prefer my name there than my Google account username as that is also my email address! (I only joined Youtube after the merger with Google accounts - never setup a Youtube account...)

I'd be good if they fixed the apparent issue that declining the option bugs out the commenting/replying system.

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