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In Defense of Online Anonymity

Anonymity on the web has gotten a foul rap recently, and for good cause. The defend of anonymity has contributed to a poisonous on-line ecosystem that’s too usually marred by cyberbullying, misinformation and different social ills. Removing anonymity has the potential to foster accountability and belief. This shouldn’t be misplaced on tech executives, some of whom have enthusiastically advocated the removing of anonymity over the previous decade. As early as 2010, Facebook’s advertising director argued that “online anonymity has to go away.” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky echoed this sentiment in a 2013 interview, arguing that “When you remove anonymity, it brings out the best in people.”

But this overlooks an necessary truth: The web wants some anonymity. To see why, contemplate the evolution of on-line marketplaces. Early marketplaces like eBay enabled arm’s-length transactions between patrons and sellers with a platform within the center. This led to positive aspects not solely in financial effectivity but additionally, in some circumstances, fairness. The comparatively nameless nature of on-line transactions eliminated markers of race, gender and different elements that typically had been used to discriminate in opposition to prospects in standard transactions.

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