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Facebook Reportedly Launching an App Designed to Hide Your True Identity

A shift toward anonymity?

Facebook wants you to be just as comfortable sharing sensitive information as you are broadcasting mundane details, so the social network is planning a new, anonymous sharing app, according to a recent report.

Citing anonymous sources, The New York Times said Facebook is expected to launch an app within weeks that allows people to sign up with pseudonyms and keep their true identities hidden, which could compete with similar secretive apps like Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak. Facebook didn't comment.

This follows last week's reports that Facebook would work on health care-focused apps, which could require a level of privacy as well. Traditionally, Facebook has strictly enforced the use of true identities on its main network and recently caught fire from drag queens who wanted to use pseudonyms. That boosted sign-ups at competing site Ello.

Real identities are key to Facebook's advertising goals as it seeks to become the people-based marketing platform. Still, there has been a shift toward more anonymity and less digital permanence, especially among young people flocking to Snapchat's disappearing photos or Whisper's seemingly risk-free sharing. Also, forums like those on Reddit allow anonymous communities.

It appears Facebook could be trying to capture some of that popularity with yet another standalone app, which have mostly been met with limited success. Its Snapchat clones called Poke and Slingshot didn't catch on, nor has its most recent Hyperlapse app.

The Times had few details on how the new app would work. Josh Miller, hired in the acquisition of Branch, is reportedly heading the project.

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