Google+ to issue warnings over fake names

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

If you signed up for Facebook using a fake name, don't think you'll get away with it on Google+ too.

Recently, Mountain View suspended a number of Google+ accounts for signing up with fake names and therefore violating the company's Terms of Services (TOS).

Today, Google decided to loosen its policy to at least give users warning before disabling their accounts.

So if you are known by a particular nickname within the social network world you are basically out of luck on Google+.

According to a post written by Bradley Horowitz on the Google Blog, users can only add nicknames within the "other names" section.

"For example: some of my colleagues call me 'elatable,' a pseudonym I’ve used on many services, so I've added it to my list of other names," Horowitz wrote.

"The 'Employment,' 'Occupation' and 'Education' fields in your profile can appear in your hovercard all across Google+ - to those with permission to view them. This also helps other users find and identify you."

Beyond just searching for fake names, Google is patrolling for businesses, groups, and people using other people's names on Google+.

If you are caught violating Google's Terms of Service, you will be served with a link to the rules and a warning. Horowitz emphasized that Google is aiming for "better expectation setting as to next steps and timeframes for users that are engaged in this process."

Google is also exploring ways to avoid account deletions by revamping the sign-up process to "reduce the likelihood" that users get themselves into a state that will later result in review.

Finally, Horowitz touched upon the subject of businesses on Google+.

"While this may appear as easy as the stroke of a policy pen ('Just let the businesses in!'), we think we can do better. We’re designing features for different use cases that we think will make a better product experience both for them and for everyone else.

"Please don’t misconstrue the product as it exists today (< 4 weeks since entering Field Trial) as the 'end state.' We’re flattered that there’s so much passion and interest... and will continue to improve the product and innovate in ways that will hopefully surprise and delight," he concluded.