Last weekend, Google deleted the Google Plus accounts of some of their users. Needless to say, this created quite a furore among those affected.
It had been decided as a matter of policy that the newly launched social network Google Plus would only allow accounts of people who used their real name in the account.
When Google put this policy into action, they unwittingly ended up deleting the accounts of some genuine users as well.
Among them were Limor Fried – AKA Lady Ada, and A.V. Flox, and even an ex-employee of Google Kirrily ‘Skud’ Robert.
The account holders whose accounts were deleted received a message saying, “After reviewing your profile, we determined the name you provided violates our Community Standards.”
This move on the part of Google has been criticised by several people as it can at best be termed as arbitrary.
Finally Google has responded to the controversy that has thus been created.
On Monday, Google VP of Product Bradley Horowitz wrote, We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing,”
The policy is explained in section 13 of the company’s User Content and Conduct Policy. It says, “To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of those would be acceptable.”
Some of the erroneously deleted accounts have since been restored.
Google will henceforth implement some changes in the way this policy is used. The changes are as follows:
- Google will give users more warning and the chance to comply with the common name policy
- The company is improving the signup process
- Lastly, the search giant is exploring better ways to support nicknames, maiden names and pseudonyms.