New Apps Launch
Facebook is working on a standalone app that would allow users to communicate anonymously, similar to existing apps like Whisper and Secret, according to a new report. Such a product would be a drastic reversal in Facebook’s longstanding opposition to anonymity. But more than that, the app would also serve as yet another sign that Facebook has changed. Once a scrappy startup, it’s now quite a large company, constantly reacting to trends, instead of setting them.
According to the report, the app will allow people to use pseudonyms so they can have discussions about topics “which they may not be comfortable connecting to their real names”. Whether the standalone app will connect to Facebook’s main page and users’ account is still not clear.
Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that releasing new standalone apps would be a top priority for the social networking site. Facebook has already launched an ephemeral messaging app called Slingshot.
The Facebook Messenger app has already been downloaded over 500 million times on Android-based devices. Facebook-owned Instagram has also released a standalone private messaging app called Bolt.
Why else would Facebook even think about launching another anonymity app now, when the space is already so crowded with successful competitors? It’s likely for the same reason Facebook created its own Snapchat lookalike years after the ephemeral messaging site launched. It’s because Facebook believes that with its unmatched existing user base, it can easily overtake the competition.
It may also be tough for Facebook a company that makes its billions selling ads based on user data to convince users that their private conversations on the app are ever truly anonymous. Unlike its upstart competitors, Facebook’s reputation precedes it and in this space, that can be both a blessing and a curse.