Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg: Online Anonymity ‘Has To Go Away’

Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s marketing director and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, has called for an end to on-line anonymity, saying internet users would ‘behave a lot better’ if everyone had to use real names when surfing or posting on the internet.

Randi Jayne Zuckerberg is the marketing director of Facebook, and sister of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Gene Driskel/Flickr

Mrs. Zuckerberg made the comments during a round table discussion on cyber bullying: “I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away,” she said during a panel discussion on social media hosted Tuesday evening by Marie Claire magazine.

“People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”

Hosted by Marie Claire magazine and the nonprofit Common Sense Media, the panel was moderated by editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, and included ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, Facebook marketing director (and the CEO’s sister) Randi Zuckerberg, and Common Sense Media President and COO Amy Guggenheim Shenkan.

Erin Andrews, an ESPN anchor who had a naked video of her posted online by a stalker, joined Zuckerberg as a panelist and addressed her struggles to have the illegally-obtained video removed from the web.

She became emotional at points during the conversation and described her frustration working Google and other companies that declined to pull the video from the websites hosting it.

“We need to start paying attention to what is happening on the Internet,” said an emotional Andrews.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has also made this suggestion, calling online anonymity “dangerous” and predicting that governments will eventually “demand” that people use their names for all online activity.

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, although often limelight. “In my family, for as long as I can remember, an appreciation for a free and vibrant press, as much as this may surprise some of you in this room, has been a core value,” said Clinton, a board member of Common Sense Media.

“Also in my family for as long as I can remember, a healthy skepticism of what is in the press has been a survival skill.”

Guggenheim Shenkan also argued for the development of an Internet “erase button” that would make it easy for children and adults to delete information about themselves from the Web.

Privacy advocates have however condemned previous attempts to dismantle on-line anonymity.

Critics complain that the forced introduction of some kind of ‘on-line passport’ would damage the freedom of speech and blunt the internet as a tool for dissidents to speak up against oppressive governments.

“There’s so much more we can do,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re actively tying to work with partners like Common Sense Media and our safety advisory committee.”

Facebook has previously come under fire after founder Mark Zuckerberg said he would ‘fight’ to allow under-13s to use the social networking website – despite warnings it would put the most vulnerable children at risk.

In America the age limit, also of 13, is dictated by laws designed to protect young children, but Facebook’s 27-year-old billionaire creator believes the educational benefits of using the site mean the restrictions should be lifted. [via Huffpost and Adweek]

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