Google+ users irked at surge in deleted accounts

Google combats fake names, but some users argue for exceptions -- or at least a warning

Within the last day or so there has been a surge in the number of Google+ accounts that have been suspended as part of the social network's real name policy, reports Violet Blue for ZDNet who mentioned the likes of writer and editor A.V. Flox, rapper Doctor Popular and Limor Fried who recently graced the cover of Wired Magazine. Fried's account was later reinstated.

Google requires that G+ profiles use real names and not pseudonyms.

But some people feel there are good reasons to use a fake name. "Political dissidents may want to avoid persecution. Those who've been harassed may want to avoid more of it. And plenty of people want both online interactions and privacy," wrote Stephen Shankland for CNET recently. Google employee and "psuedonymity" proponent Kirrily "Skud" Robert agrees. Also making Blue's list of the banned, she's currently collecting data from others whose accounts have also been suspended.

And some people have even lost access to all of their Google accounts.

One person quoted in Blue's article wrote, "To be clear, the stories we're hearing so far are of people being suddenly frozen out of EVERYTHING, all their data and resources, not just one or a few Google functions. Given who we early adopters are, even a few more days of this unreasonable behavior could abort the whole G+ effort."

Some people are even getting banned without knowing why.

A diatribe written by @thomasmonopoly is currently getting lots of attention on Twitter. Here's an excerpt:

"On July 15 2011 you turned off my entire Google account. You had absolutely no reason to do this, despite your automated message telling me your system "perceived a violation." I did not violate any Terms of Service, either Google's or account specific ToS, and your refusal to provide me with any proof otherwise makes me absolutely certain of this. And I would like to bring to your attention how much damage your carelessness has done. My Google account was tied to nearly every product Google has developed, meaning that I lost everything in those accounts as well."

Most people probably can't imagine such a grim scenario. Personally, my Google accounts contain data that has taken years to amass. Losing access to them would feel like nothing short of robbery.

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Christina DesMarais

PC World (US online)
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