Well, this is an interesting turn of events. Just weeks after Facebook‘s attempts to enforce its real name policy backfired spectacularly, the social networking site is reportedly working on a new, standalone app that will let its users interact in complete anonymity.
The New York Times broke the story, after receiving information from two supposed insiders who, funnily enough, would only agree to speak about Facebook’s plans under the condition of anonymity.
This new app, if it turns out to be a thing, will be a significant about-face for the site, whose rationale, up to this point, has been all about making you reveal your personal information and connections in the service of sweet, sweet advertising revenue.
Little else is known about the app or how it will work, just that it will likely be revealed in the coming weeks. Many speculate it could resemble popular apps Secret and Whisper, which allow users to share information anonymously with friends and people nearby.
It could even be a competitor to more sleazy apps like Bang With Friends – recently rebranded as Down – that tell you which of your Facebook friends would be up for a quick, dirty hook-up with you.
Newly-minted social networking competitor Ello also allows users to be anonymous, so this could also be Facebook’s way of striking back at them. Fallon’s recent analysis of the pros and cons of joining Ello was certainly amusing stuff.
Whatever the reason behind its creation, the project is being led by recent Facebook hire Josh Miller, and the New York Times said that:
The point … is to allow Facebook users to use multiple pseudonyms to openly discuss the different things they talk about on the Internet; topics of discussion which they may not be comfortable connecting to their real names.
When it comes to topics of discussion to which people are uncomfortable attaching their real names, the internet has that covered already. See: the million and one burner Twitter accounts that exist solely to churn out racist, sexist bile and make death threats.
Then again, our cynicism could be totally misplaced, and this could be a wonderful, socially redeeming app with a great deal to offer the human race in general, and Facebook’s billion-plus users specifically. Your move, Zuckerberg.
Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images