Another week, another story about Facebook and privacy. But this time the news is good. The social media behemoth is developing an app to allow users to be anonymous. The New York Times is reporting that “The company is working on a stand-alone mobile application that allows users to interact inside of it without having to use their real names, according to two people briefed on Facebook’s plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the project.” The project is being headed up by Josh Miller, a development manager at Facebook. “The point, according to these people, 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,” writes Mike Isaac.
It’s all very hush-hush at this point, and obviously Facebook doesn’t need this to backfire. The company has a pretty shoddy record when it comes to users’ privacy. Just last week it had to apologize to drag queens after forcing them to use their real names in their profiles. The new anonymity app is expected to be released in the next few weeks. Of course, allowing users to use multiple pseudonyms might encourage online bullying, trolling, and harassment, so we will have to wait and see how Facebook controls it. In the meantime, though, it looks like it’s time for me to bring my alter-ego Seamus Ogilvy out of retirement.