Glassdoor reportedly attaches real names to anonymous accounts

The site where you can be honest about your employer might not be your friend.

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Is it really possible to keep anything hidden on the internet anymore? It seems very unlikely, with the latest example coming from Glassdoor, which published people's real names without their consent, ArsTechnica reports. That's right, the site specifically designed to allow anonymous, often unfiltered posts about users' employers is now tattling.

Glassdoor's long-standing policy was that users could sign up with their name or anonymously. However, things changed when the company bought FishBowl in 2021 and later integrated it. Now, Glassdoor users get signed up for a FishBowl account and, as a result, must be verified (a Fishbowl requirement). This shift gives Glassdoor access to users' information to either display without consent — as is being done — or potentially get revealed if there was a leak or subpoena.

ArsTechnica spoke with two individuals whose data was populated on their Glassdoor profiles, including Monica, who noticed the change after actually asking for the company to remove some of her public-facing information. In an initial blog post, she claimed to have repeatedly not consented and that one Glassdoor employee told her that all profiles are now required to include a name.

Monica reported that a Glassdoor manager then added, "I stand behind the decision that your name has to be placed on your profile and it cannot be reverted back to just your initials or nullified/anonymized from the platform. I am sorry that we disagree on this issue. We treat all users equally when it comes to what is eligible to be placed on the profile and what is not, but we know that there are times our users, such as yourself, may not always agree with us." However, a Glassdoor spokesperson told Ars Technica that users could remain fully anonymous — contradicting the manager and leaving the truth unclear.

Then there was Josh, who claimed that Glassdoor not only added private information without permission but that some of it was inaccurate. Glassdoor listed him as living in London when he's based in California and spelled his employer's name wrong. Both Monica and Josh removed their accounts and sent Glassdoor requests to delete their data.