4chan Founder Chris Poole: It’s Not That I Love Anonymity, It’s That I Hate Facebook’s Identity Requirements
4chan founder Christopher Poole is known for giving speeches about the value of anonymity online. But sometimes it’s more helpful to state what you’re against than what you’re in favor of. Poole said today he’s opposed to Facebook and now Google+’s requirement of a single consolidated identity for each of their users.
“We all have multiple identities. It’s not abnormal; it’s just part of being human,” Poole said, in probably the most interesting session so far at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
“I cherish having options,” Poole said, joking that he can find more choices in the toothbrush aisle than ways to express himself online. “What’s really at stake now is the ability to be expressive on the Internet.”
Justifications for multiple identities include youthful indiscretions, personal and professional distinctions, exploring random communities and interests, and the more general drive to be able to choose how you present yourself to the world, Poole said.
Somewhat ironically, Poole’s new start-up Canvas does use Facebook authentication, Poole said — because it’s an easy way to filter out trolls and spammers. But after that Canvas users can then express themselves however they want.
Poole argued that it’s this diversity of options that must be preserved. Instead of using filtering techniques Google Circles and Facebook Smart Lists, he said, “It’s not who you share with, it’s who you share as.”
He concluded, “Facebook and Google do identity wrong, Twitter does it better, and I want to think about what the world would be if we did it right.”
Image credit Sage Ross.