Online Real Name and Online Anonymity

Now social media plays a very important role in life. However, whether the Internet is a real-name registration system has caused great controversy. Some people think that a real-name registration system’s surfing the Internet is an invasion of their privacy, but others think that a real-name registration system’s surfing the Internet reduces the probability of factual language attacks by cyberbullies. Because unfriendly people are afraid of being found out of their identity. This paper will focus on network privacy and network anonymity.

Degree of network privacy communication
Most people are worried about their privacy online. Social media can have the user’s address, phone number, email address, automatic deduction rights, photo album access rights and chat history, etc. In fact, users do not know whether the company will use its own information for profit. It is also difficult for users to judge what methods can be used to reduce the harm of privacy disclosure to us. There is a barrier between users and the Internet. Many people are enjoying the convenience brought by the Internet. This kind of interest will numb people’s vigilance against privacy disclosure.
For example, nude photos sensationalized the world. The foreign hackers are suspected of using the loopholes in Apple’s iCloud cloud system to illegally steal nude photos of many popular actresses around the world, and then publish them in online forums. Because all the people affected were world-famous people, this batch of about 300 pornographic photos spread rapidly. Although relevant social networking sites have tried their best to block users who posted nude photos, they can not stop the spread of pornographic photos at all. Many famous actresses’ photo albums have been stolen.
This shows that the consequences of privacy disclosure are very serious. This makes the client’s life affected and people panic. I think the crux of the problem is that the company has too much power. There is also no third-party supervision company to protect users’ privacy. This makes it difficult for users to safeguard their rights and interests in the face of the crisis of network privacy disclosure.   
An online privacy survey conducted in Australia showed that two-thirds of the respondents thought they had nothing to hide. A small number of people (18%) think that their more general concerns about online privacy are exaggerated. Most interviewees feel that they can’t control their privacy online(Goggin,2017).
In fact, people still intend to protect their privacy, but they just don’t know which way to choose to effectively prevent it. I think the core reason why people say there is nothing to hide is actually the extreme distrust of the Internet. Because I am also a member with such an idea. I often feel powerless about the privacy monitoring of the Internet. So I try to avoid posting some posts that may reveal my personal information. I tend to cut off the news from the source.

Real-name registration system’s Internet access intensifies the danger of privacy leakage
Real-name registration system’s surfing the Internet has further deepened people’s fear of privacy disclosure. Nowadays, many social media require users to fill in their real identity information when registering, such as birth date, ID number, and so on. This makes human flesh search easier. The more messages are provided by users, the more comprehensive privacy hackers can steal. With this information, hackers can find out your address, school experience, family members, and so on. All these make users feel scared.
Half of Australians agree that everyone should have the right to be anonymous or under a pseudonym online. For people under 40, this figure rises to 57%. About 30% of young Australians said that if others have the opportunity to make anonymous comments, they are more likely to make honest and open comments on the news, talk about sensitive topics such as sex, or question other people’s opinions(Goggin,2017).
Especially now it is still in the era of big data. Amazing big data makes it easy for ordinary netizens to spy on other people’s privacy. Although it may not be intended. Now 90% of social software has the option of recommending friends to you. Many people are dissatisfied with this function. On the internet, everyone wants to truly speak their inner thoughts. The reason why people can be more honest on the Internet is that they are unfamiliar. People are selfish and only more concerned about things that are closely related to them. So your post may not be browsed at all. Even if your post arouses human interest, the public is more concerned about the event itself than your identity( Valenzuela et al., 2017). In this case, you vent your feelings that have nowhere to put them. The audience’s desire to spy has also been satisfied. Then, people will pay attention to the other gossip.
But once you are in a real-name registration system, you will become more transparent on the Internet. Big data tends to recommend acquaintances to users. But this often causes some embarrassment. An employee once spoke out about his unpleasant work experience on social media platforms. He was warned by the leader just because he got off work on time. Because of Big Data, the article was recommended to the company. This makes the employee’s situation even more difficult.
Some social media also display the user’s IP account address. For example, in Weibo and Xiaohongshu, since May 2022, users will display their IP address when posting comments and posts. This actually brings many hidden dangers. Some people will commit cyber violence based on IP addresses. For example, there is a video in Tik Tok in which a Chinese girl shared her daily life in English. In the video, her English is fluent and her smile is charming. But some netizens still laugh at her accent. The netizen’s IP address is in the United States, and he said: “I don’t understand why people should praise her. Her English is not perfect at all.”A netizen from Shanxi responded to his unfriendly remark: “The girl in the video has a very good English accent. And the basic function of language is communication. A language is just a tool. You should not laugh at others.” Shanxi is a city with medium economic development in China. So the netizen in the United States responded: “Look at your IP address and it is estimated that you can not t go abroad for a lifetime. ” From this example, IP addresses give some language abusers weapons to attack others. And it will aggravate the problem of geographical discrimination.

What crowd supports real-name registration systems surfing the Internet?
Internet access in a real-name registration system will expose privacy. But why do people support this policy?
What kinds of people support this?
First, women.
Women are more supportive of real-name registration systems surfing the Internet than men. According to a survey in Australia, 39% of people were influenced by malicious or abusive remarks, and 27% of people posted personal content without consent(Goggin,2017). Most of the victims are women.
Although gender equality is advocated, it has not really been realized. Women in third-world countries such as South Africa and Kenya are still suffering from miserable treatment. In December 2022, Afghanistan even issued a decree to suspend women’s university education throughout the country(“Free Exchange”, 2022). Men still occupy a relatively dominant position in society.
Anonymity makes cyberbullies attack others more brazenly. In the video comments of girls dancing, there are many comments under the gaze angle of men. They will judge women’s figures. Others say that girls dance to seduce boys. Girls will be questioned and abused innocently. These remarks will make women fall into body anxiety and appearance anxiety.
On March 17, 2023, the netizen “11” posted that she was defamed by Zhao Mou. The girl said that she and Zhao were high school classmates and friends. He stole photos of her circle of friends and posted them on pornographic websites after forging them. Pornographic websites do not need to fill in their real identities. So Zhao Mou thinks they will not be discovered.
According to a study(The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2020), among the cyber violence that women encounter, false misinformation and defamation are the most common means of attack, that is, spreading rumors and defamatory remarks to discredit a woman and damage her personality. The prevalence rate of false news and slander in cyber threats is as high as 67%, which is higher than cyber-harassment (66%), hate speech (65%), and impersonation (63%).
At the individual level and structural levels, women are expected to obey men, and it is a sense of “disobedience” that attracts attacks on women. Mary Beard observed and personally experienced cyber-attacks, and found that the number of perpetrators of cyberattacks was much higher than that of women. But the situation of the victims was just the opposite(Kuster,2018). So most women support the real-name registration system. This will enable the public to think more about the consequences of unfriendly remarks about themselves and others when making comments.
In addition to women, LGBT, and indigenous groups are facing the threat of online anonymity. Many European LGBT people have experienced violence (FRA, 2013). They are overrepresented in the statistics about this kind of abuse.

The Necessity of Online real-name registration System
In December 2011, Weibo social platform launched the policy of Weibo and the real-name registration system. Weibo’s real-name registration system refers to the system that users on Weibo should use real identity information to register their accounts when making, copying, publishing, and disseminating information content through micro-blogs(Wang Jing & Duan Huimin,2017). Any organization or individual who registers a microblog account should use real identity information. But their speeches can be anonymous. This method will not affect the user’s experience on Weibo.
The origin of China’s network real-name registration system is generally believed to be the suggestion made by Li Xiguang, a professor at Tsinghua University. When he talked about news reform in 2002, he said: “China People’s Congress should ban anyone from being anonymous online”. He believes that the network should also be strictly protected by copyright and intellectual property rights(Li Xiguang & Su Jing,2019). At the same time, online activities should bear legal responsibility. Traditional media should advocate publishing articles with real names instead of pseudonyms. Publishing things under pseudonyms is irresponsible for the public.
The implementation of a network real-name registration system can make some people have scruples when they want to violate morality or even the law and restrain their behavior. This policy can minimize all kinds of illegal and criminal activities using the Internet. It also reduces the probability of vulnerable groups being subjected to cyber violence.
Second, the policy limits the freedom of the perpetrators, which is better for most netizens. No freedom is unlimited. The right to freedom of speech must be realized within the scope permitted by law, and shall not infringe upon the interests of others, the collective interests, and the national interests. Therefore, as long as netizens do not violate the law, they can express their thoughts freely as before. Real-name registration system maintains the order of the network.
Thirdly, a real-name registration system can enhance people’s sense of responsibility and frankness. In such an open and fair atmosphere, people will be more rational. Network real-name registration system makes everyone communicate and live in a more cordial and friendly atmosphere.

Suggestions for dealing with privacy leaks
First of all, the state should increase the punishment for privacy leakers. Nowadays people’s privacy is often invaded. For example, everyone will receive all kinds of fraudulent phone calls. And scammers often get users’ information from websites where users register. People are often deceived because liars can accurately tell personal information. In response to this situation, the state has introduced relevant policies to punish scammers and social media platforms.
Social media platforms need to strengthen their own supervision. Some platforms will spontaneously sell user information to gain benefits. The platform should have a clear understanding of the harm of privacy leakage. Temporary interests may bring you to jail. Strengthen the training of company employees. At the same time, strengthen the security system of the website and establish a solid firewall. Regularly check the safety of the website. This can effectively prevent the website from being attacked by hackers.

Online anonymity or real name has always been a hot topic of discussion. This article thinks that the advantages of online anonymity outweigh the disadvantages. It maintains the freedom and security of women, LGBTL, and indigenous groups. It is undeniable that the security risks of privacy leakage do exist. But now the state has always attached great importance to these problems and taken active measures to deal with them. Also, it has promulgated corresponding laws and regulations. Internet-related enterprises are also required to increase efforts to protect the information security of netizens. With the progress of technology and the increasing awareness of the self-protection of netizens, I believe these problems will be gradually controlled and lifted.


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