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Now you can use pseudonyms on Google+ !

Google+ has finally relaxed its name policy. Now, users will be able to use Google+ under pseudonyms. The move was greeted with enthusiasm, as a human rights group had criticized this policy. It maintained that there may be circumstances due to which, people may not be able to display their real names. It could prove to be dangerous to their lives and property. Hence, the search giant's social networking platform, Google+ can be entered and used under a pseudonym.

However, there are a few catches. In order to use a nickname, users will have to prove that this nickname is recognized either in the offline world, or in the virtual world. This was explained by Bradley Horowitz, Google's executive, who said that there were 0.1 percent of applicants who filed name appeals and 20% of these applicants wished to use Google+ under a pseudonym. He further elaborated that the users who wanted to register under a pseudonym will have to provide, "references to an established identity offline in print media, news article, etc" or offer "proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following". Also, users may be required to provide "scanned official documentation, such as a drivers' licence" and that the review process would take a "few days".

According to the BBC, Google said that the official documentation will be destroyed once the verification process was completed. 

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Other organizations which protested the move by Google to allow only real names included the Electronic Frontier Foundation who said that this move by Google was 'shortsighted'. The San Francisco based digital rights group presented a US Supreme Court's ruling which read as follow, "Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation - and their ideas from suppression - at the hand of an intolerant society." Privacy International which is based in London offered its opinion that it was still not satisfied with the current change. The group's executive director said, "This is a sidestep, not a step forward."

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