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OkCupid starts enforcing real-name rules, insists it’s a good idea

Over the past year, online dating service OkCupid has jarred up a few of its core features, and the changes have all pushed the service distant closer to imitative rival dating app Tinder. Thursday’s big change, however, sees the site borrowing a subtler Tinder “feature” that has prolonged barbarous users of other online platforms: a real-name policy, coming before year’s end.

“We all have genuine names,” the company’s open minute states while inventory a accumulation of goofy-sounding handles that the unnamed author insists are taken from genuine dating accounts. “We know, this is tough to hear. It’s because, like the new goodbye we pronounced to AIM screen names, it’s time to keep up with the times. We wish you, BigDaddyFlash916, to go by who you are, and not be dark underneath another covering of mystique.”

The underline will only display first names, and OkCupid says no outside-service corroboration will be used to endorse that the name matches your tangible identity. An OkCupid orator tells Ars Technica that the only mandate are a two-letter smallest but numbers, symbols, or emojis and that it will work a “banned word” list, whose essence it did not disclose.

Real name, genuine headache?

OkCupid’s decision follows a tumultuous period progressing in the decade when a series of companies began preventing business from publicly identifying themselves with pseudonyms, and instead began mandating they use genuine names, even when communicating with other users. Facebook’s policy, in particular, has faced critical inspection interjection to remoteness and LGBTQ advocates indicating out the fundamental problems and dangers that users can face by attaching “legal” names to their online accounts. Google’s efforts to insert real-name information to Google+ accounts eventually crashed and burned due to user outcry—particularly in terms of those genuine names getting trustworthy to YouTube accounts. Blizzard toyed with a real-name policy for roughly one week in 2010 before changing march due to disastrous fan responses.


Facebook eventually won out in European courts in disputes over its real-name policies, but that hasn’t stopped critics, including Ars’ own Timothy B. Lee, from speaking out about just since Internet anonymity is valuable, generally in the face of governments trying to order their own real-name rules. From Lee’s 2011 op-ed:

Not everybody seeks anonymity to act boorishly. Some online speakers wish anonymity since they fear their legitimate online debate could trigger real-life retaliation. That could meant a citizen of a odious regime wanting to impugn the government. It could meant a whistleblower wanting to display the indiscretion of her employer. It could be a lady trying to equivocate find by her violent ex-husband. The list of reasons people wish to pronounce anonymously is almost endless.

Lee also points out that companies in free-speech countries like the United States are acquire to make their own real-name rules, and users can adopt or reject them as they see fit, so OkCupid’s plans (probably) don’t run afoul of American law. But they do lift questions about the supportive information tender of online dating and how any connection to genuine identities can infer troubling. One European Tinder user found this out progressing this year when she requested, and finally received, an 800-page print-out of privately identifying information that the company had collected about her use of the service. And either you’re using the site in an openly conform or behind a partner’s back, the ramifications of genuine dating information in hackers’ hands still relate aloud following the bomb Ashley Madison trickle in 2015.

When asked about issues with identifying factors that can outcome in nuisance and abuse, either due to stalkers and exes or due to users being members of the LGBTQ community, an OkCupid orator responded with a statement:

“We know this is a change that has worried the trans community. We have always been about inclusivity and making OkCupid a place where everybody feels acquire which is since we were one of the first dating apps to offer non-binary gender options and currently have 22 gender options and 13 orientations available. It’s critical to note that it doesn’t indispensably have to be your authorised first name, it can be whatever nickname you would like your dates to call you.” The matter also forked out that the company stopped indexing its profiles on Google “months ago.”

OkCupid’s fast Tinder-ization

In OkCupid’s case, the pierce follows some other major changes that bring the service distant closer to imitative Tinder. This one, for example, mirrors Tinder’s use of Facebook form data, which so assigns a “real” first name to a user’s account.

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