A little while ago, rumours were spreading about how Facebook was planning on launching an ‘anonymous app’ — one that would allow people to chat without revealing their real identity. Now it seems that there’s a bit of a catch. Other people won’t know who you are, but Facebook might.
Essentially, if the system is powered by a Facebook log-in, then people will be able to open up without fear of discovery, but anyone acting like an example of the worst humanity has to offer will still have to deal with the fact that whatever they did can be tied back to them. It’s opening up the potential of anonymity on the web, without letting it turn into a 4chan-style den of chaos.
This system would also have the inherent problem of Facebook having a record of everything you do and say, much like they do already. But if people believe that they’re anonymous they are more likely to open up and reveal things about themselves that they might not do in a public forum. If that is being stored on Facebook server somewhere, be it for advertising or legal reasons, then there is a real possibility that it may get uncovered. While Facebook’s security is bound to be pretty top notch compared to a lot of other services like Snapchat, it still needs to be considered.
But it’s a step forward at least, especially given that Facebook has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism regarding it’s strict policy of using a real world identity. A verifiable person behind an account would probably help prevent full scale debauchery for the majority of people. Sadly, the serious people will likely find a way around this.