Facebook has been a little too much in the news lately, but here goes: The company that just a couple of weeks ago was insisting that everyone could only use their legal names and whose CEO says we're only entitled to one identity is reportedly almost ready to release a new stand-alone mobile app that will allow for total anonymity and pseudonymity, in the grand tradition of the rest of the internet.
As the New York Times' Bits blog reports, the app is due out in a few weeks, and has been developed over the last year by Josh Miller, "a product manager at Facebook who joined the company when it acquired Branch, his start-up which focused on products that fostered small, online discussion groups."
Zuckerberg apparently gets the fact that his one-name-fits-all social network is not the only game in town when it comes to how people interact on the internet, and that there are things we still want to say under assumed names sometimes angry screeds, insulting diatribes, and other trollish behaviors that simply can't be done in the polite circles of Facebook. Hence the popularity of Reddit and every other place that lets you comment anonymously but where there are still controls that filter out egregious offenders.
We don't yet know the name of the app, and Miller wouldn't respond to the NYT for comment. An anonymous source at the company says it's on its way, but we'll see what this vague thing looks like. As the Wall Street Journal notes, "Facebook has had more success acquiring apps than developing them" and they are likely just trying to compete with apps like Secret and Whisper that have gained traction in the last year.