Why do you need to see my face to read my opinion
May 16, 2011 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Why are so many sites these days switching to Facebook commenting systems? Am I really so unique in not wanting neither my real name/photo splashed across the pages of a thousand websites nor my opinions on various hobbies and secret interests published on Facebook for all my acquaintances to view? And what can I do to work around this system?

I like the idea of collecting all my comments across the internet in one handy place, but the thought of friends and old acquaintances seeing this information makes me break out in hives. Since graduating from university 2 years ago, I've completely stopped checking twitter and facebook so maybe it's just me and everyone else has accepted that anonymity just doesn't happen on the internet anymore??

I'm guessing my best option is to create a plausibly fake Facebook name? Is that still allowed, or do I have to verify my identity now?
posted by acidic to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's happening because it cuts down on spam, flaming, griefing, etc.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:28 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

It is technically against the rules to make a fake Facebook account. That said, you'll never get caught and it's kind of fun to think of names that make it past their automatic names filter but are still obviously fake to a human (I just tried Jimmy Metafilterovich, it works fine).
posted by miyabo at 11:28 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think that, as entropicamericana says, the idea is that you're accountable for your words if they're attached to your real identity. People will be less trollish if they're required to own what they say.
posted by craichead at 11:30 AM on May 16, 2011

Many of my friends have implausibly fake names of Facebook, no problem.
posted by domnit at 11:30 AM on May 16, 2011

create a fake facebook account, it's really that simple. It's not like we have any reason to treat facebook "rules" with any more respect than facebook treats its cash cows members.
posted by tomswift at 11:30 AM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]

Some good background on mark zuckerberg's personal philosophy on internet privacy (i.e. one identity) here
posted by jourman2 at 11:30 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why are so many sites these days switching to Facebook commenting systems?

It's cheap, they believe it's a cure-all, it makes advertisers happy, and they haven't really thought it through.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:37 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Rather than creating a fake Facebook account, another option is to simply not comment on sites which require a FB login. Or stop visiting those sites entirely.

If you have a minute, you might even write to the people who run the sites and explain your feelings. Maybe you'll change somebody's mind.
posted by box at 11:42 AM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

Mod note: few comments removed - question is a simple "why" not a referendum on your feelings on censorship.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:49 AM on May 16, 2011

I don't think I've run into a single site (other than Facebook!) that requires a FB account to comment. I've seen it as an option on a few, an option I ignore. And I agree with box, I'll just not comment at any site that requires a FB (or any other) specific account ID. Anonymous speech may be a PITA sometimes, but the Internet will be a far less useful place if it ever goes away entirely.
posted by COD at 11:50 AM on May 16, 2011

Seconding COD, I don't know of any site other than Facebook that requires a Facebook account to comment on it. So I question the premise that this is common.
posted by John Cohen at 11:53 AM on May 16, 2011

Being able to outsource comment authentication to another organization is a powerful incentive. Many homegrown "solutions" exist, such as simple math CAPTCHAs, but as spambots grow more sophisticated (or a given target becomes more appealing due to popularity/visibility), folks who want to provide commenting systems see the draw of just adding a few lines of Javascript to their webpages or just by getting the right Wordpress plug-in. And, if you are the LA Times, you already have enough of a crunch on your time and resources than cleaning up the usual dreck from those worried about "instain mothers."

From a privacy perspective, I am with you.
posted by adipocere at 12:01 PM on May 16, 2011

I personally have not seen pages where you need a facebook profile to comment exclusively. Many offer options such as google account, facebook, or OpenID. It is really easy to make a fake profile on all of these so that your identity and the identity of you that likes to comment on furry fanfic boards and erotic macramé forums is separate.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:03 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding COD, I don't know of any site other than Facebook that requires a Facebook account to comment on it. So I question the premise that this is common.

It's definitely a real thing:
Comments Box is a social plugin that enables user commenting on your site. Features include moderation tools and distribution.
If you read the documentation, there are a lot of cool features - there's an automatic grammar filter, use multiple login providers (read: not Facebook), comment moderation, etc. All this with a line or two of HTML. I'm surprised that it's not more prevalent.

Previously on Metafilter
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:35 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

As a publisher, I switched because it unified the conversation across Facebook and my site. I was tired of getting 12 comments on facebook but not a peep on my site. Plus the commenting system will notify commenters on FB if theres a follow up comment, good for return traffic.
posted by Blandanomics at 1:02 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Building a commenting system is difficult, and just plugging in the Facebook commenting system is easy. It has all kinds of benefits to the website, and few drawbacks.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:05 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

maybe it's just me and everyone else has accepted that anonymity just doesn't happen on the internet anymore?

I think this is pretty accurate. Insisting on off-the-grid anonymity on the internet means accepting hassles, headaches, reduced access to content and limited functionality. Many people have decided that they value having access to content and rich functionality and don't particularly care if the whole world knows that they "Like" something on Facebook.

For what it's worth, that seems pretty rational to me.
posted by DWRoelands at 1:26 PM on May 16, 2011

You might also be interested in this article on SearchEngineLand about Facebook integration.

I'm not sure there will ever be a universal login for the Web (nor if there is actually a real need for one), but as long as SEO "experts" and marketing people keep trying to stretch their marketing dollars more, people will try to provide one. The upsides in visibility trump any privacy concerns for them.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:29 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's easier for the users sometimes. Comics Alliance used to require all posts to be verified by e-mail before they were posted, so very few people posted. They've switched the Facebook and the number of posts has jumped way up, since people are already logged in.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:44 PM on May 16, 2011

Being a blogger, it's definitely easier to integrate - and a lot less crap comes from the Facebook side of things. That said, it's setup to let virtually anyone comment with virtually any sort of login, although I don't allow anonymous comments.

There is a privacy concern for some people, but it does make you stop and think if you really want your name to be attached to those thoughts. If it's intelligent, insightful, yeah, sure - if it's a 3,000 word rant on cheese, you'll end up looking like an idiot.
posted by chrisinseoul at 8:48 PM on May 16, 2011

It also prevents you from becoming the next Gawker, where your poor security loses hundreds of thousands of emails and passwords and makes you famous as technically inept.
posted by smackfu at 5:51 AM on May 17, 2011

See also: Disqus. This is the one I've seen more often, rather than Facebook commenting.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:58 AM on May 17, 2011

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