I have been a long fan of YouTube and it's parent company Google. Even when they have done things I disagree with, such as forcing all YouTubers to create and link to a Google account. However, this is the first time that I have ever come out against individual staff members and I would like to explain why I did this.
As you know I was one of the first to participate in the YouTube help forums and due to my helpful and consistant service to the community I was elevated to the rank of Top Contributor. I was even officially thanked by YouTube in their Blog back in 2009.
Over the years I have not only provided free technical support for one of the richest corporations in the world to it's users, but I have also dedicated my channel to helping others via tutorials, and countless PM's I get on a daily basis. One of my video reviews for the new Youtube Editor made it to the YouTube Spotlight back in 2010.
Then a few months ago the YouTube Help channel subscribed to me.
So needless to say, I have done my part to help out this community. Google then launched Google + and I was one of the first people to get an invite. I got it from YouTube employee Margaret Healy. I replied with basically a thanks but no thanks. It was only when I found out that people could set up fake pages, that I decided to create a profile on Google Plus. I never made it public. Furthermore, anyone who attempted to add me into their circle was blocked.
My concern was I did not trust Google +, I didn't know much about it at the time and I was concerned that people who added me could track my online behavior. Single guy with internet, you figure it out.
My account was flagged by someone, and then my profile was suspended. There was no message sent to my email. No notification. I then discovered that other people were being suspended and being locked out of their Google accounts and everything tied to Google. I also found the announcement from Google that Effective July 31st, any profile that is set to private was going to be removed. You can read this announcement for yourself here
Therefore, I decided it would be in my best interest to attempt to sever my Google account from Google Plus. For those who wish to do the same you can do so by clicking here You want to make sure you do option 2, which is to downgrade your account.
It was after I made my first video on Google + that I began getting messages and even a few phone calls. You can see my first video here.
Of course the people who talked to me told me not to disclose their names so I won't but they did tell me where to start digging for some information. One of the things I was told is that Google is getting ready to ramp up their Google Checkout, and that is why they are wanting Google users to link to a real identity. Apparently PayPal is the next thing they plan on trying to take on. Of course because I can't name my sources I can't prove any of this. As a result I left it out of my video. Another thing I left out is Google sock accounts. Based on the information I was told Google employees are tracking the performance and monitoring the hangouts via sock accounts. This way they can interact without people knowing they are talking to Google employees. Seems logical but of course I can't prove it.
However, one thing I was able to prove is that some Google employees are not following the Terms of Service when it comes to disclosing real identities. Names such as Talin, Sara MC, and Alice C for example. Furthermore, if you go through the Google employees and who they have added to their circle you will find lots of them have added obvious fake names to their Circles. Instead of suspending them, they are adding them.
So I set out to demonstrate the need to separate our lives online, and our lives at work and at home and our neighborhood. I used Google Plus the way it was intended, to find the YouTube channels of several YouTube and Google employees. Previously, these people were anonamous. Now thanks to my video, their youtube channel will be filled with messages, and most likely several comments on their channel and videos.
I did what I had to do. I can not stress this enough, requiring people to use their real names will NOT keep the trolls out. Requiring our real identies to be linked to our online identies can be dangerous and life threatening if you live in a country where totalitarian government exists. It can be costly to your job and career if your online views are not popular.
To simply demand that those who do not wish to reveal their real names need not apply is to deny our voice to what can be one of the largest social networks in the world. There is no quicker way to get a message out than to use Google and it's products. Google Plus can be used in ways we can't even imagine yet, but if free speech is inhibited by fear of life, liberty, or livelyhood, then it is truly a sad day for the internet.
I am the HappyCabbie