Thursday, August 22, 2013

HuffPo Next Month to Require Commenters to Use Real Names

English: Arianna Huffington attending the prem...
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Beginning in September, the Huffington Post will require commenters on their posts to use their full given names, founder Arianna Huffington said yesterday.

As reported in The Boston Globe and elsewhere, HuffPo, which claims to have generated more than 260 million comments on its posted stories (& sideboob images of celebs of the Miley Cyrus & Rhianna ilk, no doubt) since its inception in 2005, will no longer allow comments by pseudonymous posters. Presently, the mega-news aggregator employs 40 human monitors and an advanced screening algorithm, but Huffington says more is needed in our ever-coarsening culture.

The Globe story quoted Huffington as saying: "I feel that freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they say and not hiding behind anonymity."

The U.S. Supreme Court did not share those sentiments in McIntyre v. Ohio Election Commission, 514 U.S. 334, 341-42 (1995). Anonymity, the High Court said, "exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular." In leaving it up to authors to decide whether to identify themselves, the Court wrote: "Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority."

Keep that in mind, Arianna, when you ask followers to add monikers to their reactions to stories such as Jen Aniston Wows in white bikini.

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