Rumor has it that Facebook is developing an app that goes against the social media's traditional and transparent approach to social interaction. The company is reportedly creating an app that will let users communicate anonymously.
Little is currently known about the rumored standalone app. It is believed that the app will allowFacebook users to use pseudonyms instead of their real identities. The idea is that the anonymity would make users feel more comfortable to express their feelings. Users could create multiple user names to chat about different topics.
The app has reportedly been in development for over a year. It also isn't known what the app will be called.
This anti-transparency app is an interesting move, given the fact that Facebook's policy insisting that members use their real names garnered so much backlash. The policy stirred controversy among the drag queen community. The company apologized to the community after many drag queen profiles were flagged as "fake" since many members in the community prefer to go by their stage names and not their legal names. And though Facebook apologized to the drag queen community they didn't adjust the policy.
This new app would let Facebook compete with other anonymous-based apps like Secret and Whisper, which are valued around hundred millions of dollars.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted in January at the company's plans to launch anonymous-based products. "I don't know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we're at the point where we don't need to keep on only doing real identity things," he said. "If you're always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden."
But launching another standalone app could be risky. Facebook has not had success at other smartphone apps besides Messenger. The company's other apps, such as Home and its copy of Snapchat, Slingshot both flopped.
Facebook acquired the conversation startup Branch for approximately $15 million earlier this year from Josh Miller. Miller is rumored to be working with Facebook's Creative Lab in developing the anonymous-based app.
Miller and team worked on a separate conversation product "that organized users around topics, like forums" for Facebook this summer. It is not known whether this project morphed into the current Creative Lab and Miller app collaboration.