Facebook might soon launch a standalone app that lets you send messages anonymously or by using a pseudonym. This is in sharp contrast to its existing policies on its social networking website, which has for long been enforcing users to use their real names.
Details about the app, including how users will interact, which friends you’ll be able to add and privacy features, are still under wraps.
Though Facebook has kept details of the app a secret, sources identified Josh Miller as the app’s leader. A Facebook spokesman told New York Times that the company does not comment on rumor or speculation. It will be interesting to see how Facebook manages to prevent cyber bullying on such an app, a nagging issue that apps like Secret and Whisper are trying to combat.
The anonymous app contradicts with Facebook’s ‘real-name’ policy on its social networking site. It explicitly states the same under Account settings in order to keep its “community safe.” In a 2011 book, the company’s CEO Marc Zuckerberg was quoted saying that “having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”.
After a lot of protests, Facebook said that it would allow members of the LGBT community to use pseudonyms which they have adopted, to identify themselves on the social network.
But the success of confession apps such as Secret and Whisper might have made Facebook think differently. The app’s launch looks more like a counter to the competition than catering to those who need to be anonymous in order to express themselves freely.
It could also stem from Facebook’s insecurity from the growing popularity of Ello – a new social networking site that does not require users to provide real names. To add to it, Ello does not carry ads and promises not to sell user data – both of which require users to provide their real identities.