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Zuckerberg's sister takes aim at internet bullies

  • @_richardhall

Facebook's marketing director and sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg has called for an end to online anonymity to help stop cyber-bullying.

Randi Zuckerberg said internet users would "behave a lot better" if people were forced to use their real names when communicating on the online. "I think anonymity on the internet has to go away," she said during a panel discussion on social media hosted by Marie Claire magazine.

"I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors." Ms Zuckerberg added that the end of online anonymity could reduce harassment and "trolling" on the web.

The social-networking site with over 750 million members has been at the centre of a number of controversies over privacy – most recently when it installed facial-recognition software to identify people in photographs posted on the site. Facebook requires all its members to give their real names when they sign on to the site.

The proposals put forward by Ms Zuckerberg echo similar statements by the former head of Google, Eric Schmidt. Mr Schmidt has called online anonymity "dangerous" and predicted governments will eventually demand that people use their names for all online activity. Privacy advocates have condemned plans to remove online anonymity, saying it could make it harder for dissidents in countries with poor human-rights records to speak out.

The panel was joined by Erin Andrews, an ESPN anchor who has been the victim of cyber-bullying after a video of her, nude, was posted online by a stalker. Ms Andrews asked why searches for her name still brought up the images and video despite her efforts to have it removed. "It's still cyber-bullying. Somebody needs to step in. As a family we're always asking, what is it going to take?" she said.