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Secret and Whisper, look out: Facebook is reportedly going after anonymity

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According to a new report in the New York Times, Facebook is building an anonymous social app. The app will allow people to create multiple different pseudonyms and “interact” with each other. Users can connect over topics.

The details, provided to reporter Mike Isaac by two unidentified sources, are fuzzy. It’s not clear whether the app is meant to compete with Secret and Whisper, focusing on “broadcasted” posts, or whether it’s purely a messaging app. We don’t know whether the app would connect with the Facebook application itself. We don’t know whether image sharing will have a role, or whether your friend connections will appear à la Secret.

Basically, we don’t know much. But the simple fact that [company]Facebook[/company] is exploring anonymity should make Whisper, Secret, Yik Yak, Reddit, and their ilk at least a little nervous. According to the report, Facebook has been working on this product for a year — no small potatoes in terms of a time investment. It’s never fun when the reigning social media champion cottons onto your product.

Of course, success isn’t guaranteed. For example, Facebook’s attempts to rival competitor Snapchat — see: Poke and Slingshot — didn’t exactly pan out. But Snapchat had already built out a substantial user base and brand for itself when that happened, whereas the anonymous apps currently on the market are less established (Reddit aside).

It’s a very unusual product shift for Facebook, which has placed a huge priority on “real identities” since launch. Perhaps the company is keeping a close eye on shifting social tides to stop the likes of another Snapchat from sneaking up on it.

5 Responses to “Secret and Whisper, look out: Facebook is reportedly going after anonymity”

  1. Reblogged this on dmcrim and commented:
    I’m not sure how I feel about Facebook trying to rival the anonymous social apps. I think that goes against the traditional use for facebook’s creation. But that might just be me! I know facebook is a business, but why do they need to out do / buy all other types of apps? I am almost positive they are doing alright on there own!

  2. given the capacity to bully and harass people online, the use of disturbing content widely, is it not time for a debate on the anonymous nature of the web, we need transparency and trust so badly everywhere, it’s something to dwell on

    • AnonymousCommenter

      Yes, of course, @bwcarey, any speech that you personally find scary or offensive must be stopped immediately — and the speaker must be promptly identified and re-educated on what is acceptable!