“Anonymity is authenticity”.
Chris Poole, the creator of 4chan, the website single handedly responsible for the countless Internet memes, spoke at the SXSW event held yesterday. Among sharing information about his new project called Canvas, Poole also spoke about the importance of anonymity on the Internet, saying Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was “totally wrong” about the concept of privacy.
In an interview for ‘The Facebook Effect’ in 2009, Zuckerberg had said that having different (and anonymous) identities of yourself “is an example of lack of integrity.”
Replying directly to it, Poole said that “anonymity is authenticity; it allows you to share in a completely unfiltered way. It allows you to play in way you might not if people knew who you are.” He continued saying Zuckerberg was “totally wrong” for suggesting anonymity over the Internet was lack of integrity or an act of cowardice.
He compared anonymity of one’s self similar to the “kind of loss of the innocence youth.” He also rightfully pointed out that a mistake committed on the Internet with one’s identity revealed carries with you where you go. A mistake on 4chan, where users are strictly kept anonymous, is forgotten in an hour.
Poole does make a point, but the power of anonymity isn’t exactly a healthy choice either. In fact, the ‘no-repercussion’ state of anonymity could allow people to do what they want without any fear of being caught. Basically, this is a double edge sword, with benefits and disadvantages of being anonymous carried on its tip. It’s how one uses that blade that’s important.