Google’s latest attempt at a social network is Google+. After only a few weeks of being in a private beta, there are already 18+ million people registered on the network.

On Google+, Google requires that you provide your real, full name when making your account. While this may not prove to be a problem for most users, those under the internt’s limelight that don’t want their real name out there for all to see may find this requirement of Google’s to be a dilemma.

Legendary unlock wizard and jailbreak hacker, MuscleNerd, has run into this problem with Google, and the results are that his Google+ account has been suspended…

MuscleNerd has been a prominent member of the iPhone Dev-Team for years, and he is responsible for many of the achievements related to unlocking the iPhone. With almost 230,000 followers on Twitter, MuscleNerd is definitely an influential and well-respected member of the jailbreak community.

After signing up for Google+ under his online name, MuscleNerd received a notification today that his account had been suspended. The creator of Cydia, Jay “saurik” Freeman, addressed this problem with Google banning the use of pseudonyms in a lengthy post from his own Google+ account.

“In the last couple days, Google has taken to quite actively enforcing its “real name” rule, banning or suspending accounts (with many reports of users getting locked out of all of Google, as opposed to just +) with names that “look funny” (such as including symbols, “including period”), as well as actively suspending accounts of users who use non-real names.

However, when you live on the Internet, a lot of things get even hazier: almost everyone I deal with has both a “real name” and at least one handle of some form. I don’t just mean hackers here: I mean people I met in college who are writers, and interact with entire communities online via a pen name.

These people do not consider it appropriate to put their real name up for anyone on the Internet to view, and certainly find it scary (in the “am I going to attract stalkers to find where I live and make my life horrible” sense) to attach their name to an actual picture of themselves, as websites like Google+ encourage.”

This issue with the merging of one’s real and online identity proves to be a big one for people like MuscleNerd that have maintained an air of anonymity on the internet for so long. In fact, most hackers operate under contrived “usernames” online to keep their real identity a secret.

“One specific person I know in this situation is not a writer, but is instead a hacker (of course in the good sense of “making things possible”): MuscleNerd, a very famous member of the iPhone Dev Team (with almost 230,000 followers on Twitter). MuscleNerd is an example of someone who is almost entirely known by his handle, a situation quite unlike the oft cited Lady Gaga: despite most people not recognizing her real name, we at least know that it is “Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta”.

In this case, however, despite the fact that millions of people worldwide know who he is and hundreds of thousands of people care enough about what he says to follow him on Twitter, MuscleNerd’s real name is something that most people, by a vast majority, not only would not recognize, but have never heard… despite having worked with him for years on various projects, I haven’t even heard it.”

It will be interesting to see Google’s reaction to the suspension of MuscleNerd’s account, and I wonder if Google+ will eventually allow people to operate under pseudonyms with full permission.

Does it bother you that Google is enforcing such a policy? Will this practice of maintaing a separate, “online” identity be able to continue as social networks become more transparent? Let us know your thoughts below.


  • Jbravo

    Google + is another headache, just stay with facebook and twitter its more than enough. No need google

  • rdqronos

    I’m personally thinking about shutting off my G+ account… I have no use for it. It’s not going to gain traction, most people (mainly 15 and 16 year olds, being 15 myself…) don’t even know what G+ is. And the people who do are computer geeks who got an invite back when it was in beta (or, whatever status it was in before now.)

  • Snoopy

    Remember the film “the Big Brother”?
    That is what they have in mind when they ask for real names.

    In the beginning they claim they do it for safety, then for commercial reasons to help people decide what to buy (anonymity heloooo Google?), and finally afrer some years they will force people via their internet profile and habbits.

    Unfortunately Google started as a truly superfast engine but soon they become obsessed with power… And power is blindness to the people.

    Stay away from this app at least for the sake of you and your children as an action of truly willing…

    • moi


  • Yeah, him and his krew screwed up over 10,000 iphone 3 gs with his baseband 6.15 exploit. I wanna know where he lives so i can knock him out for being left with a fucked up phone so good on you google wheres the rest of the dev team live. Hackers they call themselves more like fuckers who dont know what they are doing :-/

    • Jim

      Haha you’re a hacker that doesn’t know what you’re doing. Lol there couldn’t have been enough warning signs you fool. I’m happy you now have a phone that will never be fixed.

      As for google-why not ask for real name. You want to join the club then follow the rules. Nobody is holding a gun to your head to sign up. Stop being big babies/whining about the big evil corporations that are power hungry. Shit. Don’t like it? Then get the fuck out! It obviously wasn’t something created for users with retarded nick names.

    • soccerkrzy

      Lol, how many warnings did you read saying you’re at your own risk? Moron.

  • Looktothefuture

    I Think it’s nice that there are offered an alternative to Facebook. Pseudonyms should be allowed, but I think it would be okay if Google made so that every body can see that it’s a pseudonym name. I hope Google+ is going to be good because Facebook suck. I’m just pissed I can’t get in while I’m under 18 and wrote my real birthday. Can anyone help?

  • Wirehedd

    Then there are the people who have used an alias to set up their Google accounts from the start but it appears to be a valid user name and thus they are able to employ G+ while still retaining their anonymity. I know of several of these people. Foresight can be almost as good as hindsight when yiou have just the right degree of paranoia. 🙂

    • Jason Masters

      That would be me lol I only have one email with my real name for professional reasons…

  • Varun

    Maybe he should have used Muscle as his name and Nerd as his surname to avoid detection.

  • Jason

    I think that’s a dumb move by Google.. if someone wants to go by a nickname or whatever let them do so. On the other hand, I guess dude doesn’t have to have a Google account.. he could jus go to or stay with Facebook. This does kind of make me think of “Big Brother” tho lol..

  • Pseudonyms should be allowed. They will change their policy. Just wait and see