Google has come under fire from users of its Google+ social-networking service, after subscribers were kicked off for using pseudonyms.
The social network launched with some fanfare in June and has already garnered 20 million users. However, the service has suffered teething problems during its beta testing, and the latest round of criticism will do little to boost confidence.
Google said it wants users to use real names on the network, but some users claim they are better known to friends, family and colleagues by a longterm nickname, which they believe should count as a real name.
Among the loudest complaints were those from a former Google worker, Kirrily Robert, whose account was suspended after her “Skud” nickname fell foul of Google's user policy.
“Because I knew Google’s policies pretty well (as much as anyone can, when they’re so unclear), I knew I was at risk of my account being suspended,” she wrote in a blog post.
“I prepared a page gathering evidence and testimonials from people who know me primarily, or solely, as 'Skud'.”
However, Google pulled the plug on her account, reportedly along with thousands of others, showing her the message: “Your profile is suspended. After reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards. If you believe this profile has been suspended in error, please provide us with additional information via this form, and we will review your profile again.”
However, Robert still had access to her Gmail and other accounts, while users elsewhere claimed all of their accounts were being suspended as part of the purge.
According to Robert, having submitted evidence that Skud was a name used for her by many colleagues, Google sent an "ill-formatted, uninformative” response, with “no further word on what the appeals process looks like, or how soon I can expect to hear back from them”.
The news came weeks after the company warned businesses trying to sign up for Google+ accounts that they would be shut down until the network was ready for them, although the company has now told us it will work with selected companies during its beta tests.
Google had no comment on the issue of pseudonym closures.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk