// Posted by Cameron on 04/02/2012 (5:55 PM)
Chris Poole, the inventor of 4chan, stated in a TED talk that anonymity allows people to “be themselves” online, but this is not at all what it actually does. In actuality, it allows people to do whatever they want… Read more
Chris Poole, the inventor of 4chan, stated in a TED talk that anonymity allows people to “be themselves” online, but this is not at all what it actually does. In actuality, it allows people to do whatever they want and to hide behind the wall of anonymity. There are no repercussions, there are no limits, people can do whatever they want, but they are not actually themselves; they are anonymous.
Rather than being proud of themselves and owning up to their own opinions, they can hide behind the mask of anonymity. Rather than standing up for themselves, they are weak and cannot put their name with their thoughts. And this separation of their thoughts and their name, their identity, demonstrates that they are not themselves.
Mattathias Schwartz, a NY Times writer asked in an article, “Does free speech tend to move toward the truth or away from it?” Of course free speech moves towards the truth; when people have the ability to say what they want, when they want, where they want, they are more likely to state what they believe to be true and pertinent. Free speech moves towards the truth, until people have the mask of anonymity. When there is no knowledge of the identity of the author, no authenticity of authorship; the writer can write whatever. This ability is free speech, but it allows for the dissemination of lies without repercussions.
This topic was something I had thought about for a while, but it was not until learning about 4chan that I began to see what anonymity truly brings. Maybe 4chan isn’t for me, maybe I should just stick with Facebook, which is all about identity and censorship, rather than the freedom to post anything anonymously.
Is there a benefit to anonymity or does it truly just give weak people a mask to hide behind? Why don’t users of 4chan share their names with their posts? I guess I would be ashamed of posting most of the things on that site too.