Facebook would be working on a new application that would allow the anonymity of users
Facebook has always tried to be the place where, above all, we can be ourselves . And apparently, the company will allow you to be yourself, but under a different name.
The world’s most used social network is working on a stand-alone mobile app that allows users to interact within it without having to use their real names , according to two people informed about the Facebook plans, who spoke under the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to comment on details about the project.
The application, which is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, reveals a different, experimental vision that gives another Facebook approach to user identity. FB has taken its main site as a way to establish our online identity, and to trace the connections we have with other friends and family, both on and off the Internet.
“It’s part of what Facebook did especially in the first place” , said Chris Cox, product manager, in a recent post that examined the issues of identity on the social network. “By differentiating the service from the rest of the internet, where anonymity, pseudonyms or random names were often the most common social norm.”
The truth is that we are seeing quite a lot of movement lately on the social network, since as we mentioned a few days ago, Mark Zuckerberg’s people would also be working on a payment system for Facebook Messenger. Evolve or die, right?
Facebook wants to keep evolving
This is still the case on the main Facebook site, which has over a billion accounts . But the new application is proof that the company is willing to explore alternatives to stay current and evolve over time.
The project is being led by Josh Miller, product manager for Facebook who joined the company when it acquired Rama, its start-up that focused on products that encouraged small online discussion groups. Mr. Miller and the rest of his team have been working on the product in its various forms over the past year , according to people informed about the company’s plans.
The issue, according to these people, is the Facebook users who use multiple pseudonyms to openly discuss the different things that are spoken through the Internet; discussion topics that may not be comfortable to connect to their real names.
A Facebook spokesperson said that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation . Mr. Miller did not respond to an email request to comment on this.
There are many unknowns as to how the new application will interact with users, in any case, with the main Facebook site. It is unclear whether the app will allow for anonymous photo sharing or how interactions between friends will work.
Anonymous online conversations have long been a feature of websites . Reddit, a large online community, allows all its users to sign up using a pseudonym. Other message boards also allow users to use any name they want. Secret and Whisper, two relatively new companies that do not require identifying names of users, have seen bursts of activity and discussion from particular users since real names are not required to be used in the services.
Is anonymity something useful or dangerous?
Facebook (and in particular Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO) has recognised the usefulness of offering users anonymity . This year, Zuckerberg said he would allow developers to incorporate an anonymous registration, depending on the applications of third parties, which will allow users to try out different apps while limiting the information they provide for that purpose.
Recent events have highlighted Facebook’s struggles to cope with identity issues online. After weeks of protests, FB said last week that would allow members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to use names they have adopted . In his message, Cox said the company would change its real name policy in the future, although it was unclear how long that might take.
It is possible that this new application will be useful in health community discussions, according to people informed about the new app. But the new app is likely to be useful beyond the health communities, these people said, and more about the different contexts in which the real name is not used is beneficial.
As The New York Times points out, it is not clear how FB will protect users from spammers or trolls who might exploit the new service. Over the last decade, Facebook has used its real name policy, in part, to ban abuse and contamination of the network by bad actors.
Do you think it will be useful to have this application for Facebook or will it bring too many headaches and security problems in the social network? Let us know what you think and don’t forget to share this article with your friends using the buttons above. Thank you! <