what happens to identity play in an era of Facebook’s “authentic” identity? Here’s a case study from 2008, in which the author was ejected from Facebook because she wasn’t using her “real” name.
Online, Anonymity Breeds Contempt. A historical perspective on anonymity from an article on internet trolling on NYT.com in 2010.
BUT! Anonymity isn’t the only issue. Here’s a report from The Guardian in 2007 including this quote from Dr Chris Fullwood, “internet researcher”:
Removing anonymity may have some small effect, but not a massive one. This is because a number of factors contribute towards what psychologists call online disinhibition. Removing one of them - the anonymity - and not removing any of the others means it will probably still occur as people remain invisible and so can disassociate their online from their offline persona.
(note many of the links in the guardian article are broken/old!)
Diakopolous, N. & Naaman, M. (2011). Towards quality discourse in online news comments. Proceedings of the ACM 2011 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperarative Work. New York, NY.
A few notes/quotes from the article:
Early work in Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) has documented how a lack of status cues and social context can introduce unwelcome low-quality contributions into online communication systems. Quality in this context refers to a degree of excellence in communicating knowledge or intelligence and normatively includes notions of accuracy, reliability, validity, currency, relevancy, comprehensiveness, and clarity [30, 31]. In the realm of online comments low-quality contributions might include “flaming” and more impulsive remarks  and are often implicated with anonymity, with less anonymity linked to higher quality comments.
crowd-based moderation has been effective, but this relies on two things: 1) pervasive and consistent online identities and 2) a homogenous attitude about what’s “good” and what’s “bad” amongst community members.
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, Vol 7(3): 321-326.
Just the abstract. AKA GIFT.
I wrote in my column about online hate, published on Sunday 12 December 2010, that Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo had conducted research that described how the context of anonymity was as important as the deindividuating effects of the anonymity itself. In fact, the authors of the study - Deindividuation and valence of cues: Effects on prosocial and antisocial behavior - were Robert Johnson & Leslie Downing. The article was published in JPSP in September 1979.
The argument I made using this evidence still stands.
Mea maxima culpa.
— The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment (and of deindividuation/anonymity)