Majority of Americans say Internet anonymity makes us less civil, but few want real names required

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:52

    Utica — Even though 60 percent of U.S. adults believe that anonymity on the Internet has made us less civil, only 21 percent agree with a statement suggesting it "has to go away." There is also a very high level of skepticism that requiring real names is even possible. Also, half of adults say it is likely they would still post online comments if they had to provide their identity. These results are from an IBOPE Zogby interactive poll conducted from July 29-Aug. 1. The poll posed the following questions: Each of these statements was made recently by two people who write about or work in the online industry. Which comes closest to your opinion? Statement A: "I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. ... I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors." Statement B: "Many people believe that requiring real names will solve the problems of trolls and bad behavior, but they don't - and that policy can have negative consequences in terms of suppressing dialogue about important topics." The results: Anonymity on the Internet has to go away: 21 pecent Requiring real names suppresses dialogue: 49 percent Neither: 19 percent Not sure: 12 percent (Total may not add up to 100% due to rounding.) Statement A was made by Randi Zuckerberg while she was still Facebook's marketing director. Statement B was made by blogger Matthew Ingram on Gigaom. For more information about the poll, visit