Blizzard caused quite a stir in the gaming community earlier this year when they announced the Real ID feature, which would have essentially eliminated the anonymity of posting on Blizzard forums and allowed players to know who was posting. This brought about many security concerns by players and led to quite a backlash from the community. Some publishers took advantage of the backlash to reaffirm their commitment to Internet privacy and Blizzard eventually retracted their original plans for Real ID in light of the negative feedback.
Blizzard has finally weighed all the pros and cons of the feature and has decided to make Real ID optional with new privacy options to help those that choose to use the feature customize it to their preference. According to a recent post on the World of Warcraft forums, players will now have the option to choose whether or not to make use of the Real ID system.
We'd like to make you aware of the new Real ID-related privacy options we've introduced to Battle.net. These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.
Real ID offers an optional, convenient way for keeping in touch with real-world friends you know and trust, whether they're playing World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, or one of our future games. The "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features provide you with even more options to stay connected while you play by making it easier for real-life friends to locate each other on Battle.net. You can easily enable or disable these features through your Battle.net privacy settings by logging in to your Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net/.
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