In a move that has angered many of the site’s longtime fans, YouTube has recently introduced the Google+ system, which requires users to log in with a “real name” instead of the anonymous usernames which were allowed in the past. Critics of the change in policy are concerned with the further erosion of anonymity on the Internet with some people predicting that the video-sharing giant will be damaged by the move.
Since it bought YouTube, Google has slowly but steadily begun to integrate itself into the world’s biggest video streaming site and in the view of many has crossed a line with the introduction of mandatory Google+ policies for users who want to make comment or host video channels. At first they seemed to be improving things, with changes in the comments section that seemed to give users more control and tools to fight trolling, but the latest move has set off alarm bells among those who believe in maintaining a free Internet.
Now, Google is seen by many to be using the comments section update to insinuate itself completely into the fabric of YouTube, forcing users to sign up. There has been a lot of discussion on Reddit and other sites, calling for users to unite in fighting back against this sudden and sweeping change in policy. These calls have been echoed by tens of thousands of users who agree that Google has gone too far. An online petition challenging the move is expected to soon contain over 100,000 signatures (you can sign the petition at
Google+ has already raised the ire of many Gmail users, with its attempts to turn its users into unwitting billboards for products and its tendency to snoop into every corner of one’s online activity. A recent video featuring a young lady singing and playing a song with NSFW lyrics criticizing Google+ and its policies has gone viral - apparently she has captured the mood of the thousands who dislike the underhanded tactics used to try to revive an extremely unpopular social network platform.
Does It Really Matter?
Many of those who use the Internet have long ago come to the realization that essentially no one is anonymous on the net and have given up even trying to fight back. Between the mobile monitoring software of the NSA, spy phone apps such as mSpy, and the efforts by online giants such as Google to collect and sell personal info, at times it seems that whatever anonymity the web once offered is long gone.
However, that doesn’t mean we have to give up every last shred of dignity and autonomy we still have online. Companies such as Google and Facebook have backed down before when faced with overwhelming indignation. We may not have much say over what our government does, but we do have a choice which social media, if any, we decide to use and Google and Facebook are not “too big to fail”.