Google: Fake names are fine on Google+

Google will now let you use a fictional name on your Google+ profile

Google+

Google has changed its ruling on Google+ usernames, allowing anyone to use a fake name to use the service.

The company said in a blog post: "Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restriction on what name you can use."

Previously, only real names were allowed because the company wanted to create a 'genuine social network, made up of genuine people', but it has now realised this is not possible because many people wanted to post on the social network anonymously.

However, the previous rules didn't stop some people from avoiding Google's restrictions and using fake names anyway. If Google discovered these profiles, they would give the user four days' notice to change their name before suspending their account.

Now, Google will not penalise users who insert a fictional first and second name during set up, so you can become 'Willy Wonka', 'Sherlock Holmes' or any other character you wish.

The company's blog post continued: "We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users," the company wrote. "For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."

Some Google+ users are speculating that the rules have been relaxed following the departure of the service's previous lead Vic Gundotra who spearheaded the campaign for genuine usernames, while others think Google decided to reverse its ruling after users voiced security concerns with using their real names.

However, now there are no rules on using real or fake names on the service, it could lead to an increase in users posting malicious comments on otherprofiles.

Last year, Google switched its commenting system on YouTube, forcing users to leave comments using their Google+ profile.

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