Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Facebook, OKCupid, and the Dilemma of Online Services

There have been grumblings in certain circles about OKCupid instituting or enforcing a policy for real names, instead of screen names, to be used. Facebook has taken steps to try to prevent people from using pseudonyms or screen names as their account names. This sort of thing has been an issue with other services.

These services have their reasons, such as collecting demographic information and advertising revenue, and also to try to prevent spammers, scammers, stalkers, bullies, and others with ill intent.

The problem, though, is that many people who don't fit the narrow, vanilla, cisgender, heterosexual, professing monogamist mold often rely on reaching out to others anonymously or with some level of privacy. That's because they face discrimination. Depending on where they are, they may be subject to everything from shunning and disowning by family, loss of employment, loss of housing, harassment and bulling, criminal prosecution, even violence, including to the point of death.

Gender, sexuality, and relationship diversities are harmless, but there are prejudiced people who want to do harm to people based on their gender, their sexual orientation, their relationships, their kinks, or their fetishes.

In a perfect world, everyone could be open and out about who they are and what they like, but we don't live in that world right now, so some people look to connect for networking, friendship, love, or more through these online services, while avoiding the bigoted judgment of their employer, parent, neighbor, or the threat of a stalking ex or rebuffed interest. The harder it is for people to reach out with popular services, they more they will be drawn to alternatives.

Have you had to deal with this problem? You are welcome here and you can comment anonymously below. or use a screen name. You an also private message me at Facebook and I will not share what you tell me. Fortunately, there are a forums for LGBTQ people, the ethically nonmonogamous, people with fetishes and kinks, and for the consanguinamorous.
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