What Does Pseudonym Mean?

A pseudonym (nym) is a name used in place of one’s given (or “real”) name. Examples of pseudonyms in the computer world include usernames and handles, which are frequently used when accessing websites or posting comments.


A pseudonym may also be known as a false name.

Techopedia Explains Pseudonym

Besides their many common uses, pseudonyms are also employed to hide malicious computer actions. Malicious posters on social networking sites can mask their identities with pseudonyms. Similarly, pseudonymous remailers can be used to propel users to illegitimate websites.

Computer pseudonym advocates hail them as a way to provide identity protection, which allows Internet users to enjoy free speech and avoid the harmful repercussions of controversial Internet postings or blogs. In reality, a balance between healthy pseudonym use and malicious pseudonym use is difficult to achieve. Computer identity pseudonyms may be discarded often, sometimes on a daily basis. This can exacerbate the problem of malicious use, as cyberbullying is often perpetrated under the guise of a pseudonym; online pedophiles have also been known to use pseudonyms to lure in victims.

One method for halting the malicious use of pseudonyms is for websites to require a user fee. Another solution may be the use of once-in-a-lifetime pseudonyms. These and other stronger security measures are sometimes necessary to curtail the harmful uses of pseudonyms.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…