After getting entangled with anonymity issue several weeks ago that raised the ire of many people from all walks of life especially the gay community, social media giant Facebook ironically has just released a feature that is linked with anonymity.
With the new app available for mobile phones that run iOS, Facebook users can now use the service anonymously through “Rooms,” a standalone mobile application that allows users to mingle on Facebook using fake names. The social media network endeavors to let people voice out their viewpoints regarding sensitive issues.
A room can be or comprised of photos and posts about a certain matter selected by the person who created it. The creator of the room can then invite other people to join in the discussion and can make posts using fake names. This so-called room can be likened to a thread in various forums and posts in the Facebook itself.
The creator can customize his room using his chosen colors, icons and cover photos. The rooms already made their way in Facebook and early users created rooms that are related to various topics such as beat-boxing videos, parkour, home-cooked meals and among others.
The product manager of Facebook Josh Miller, who carried the cudgel in developing the app quipped, “There is a good reason in a lot of situations why you don’t want people to know who you are and it’s not because of something sketchy. We want to give people flexibility because that’s what they want.”
The mobile app will soon be compatible with handsets that support Android and in personal desktop computers.
This development is indeed ironic, as Facebook required the users to register with their real names when making accounts in 2004.
Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox stated that users are safer if they are more open with their personal information,” and added, “first, it’s part of what made Facebook special in the first place, by differentiating the service from the rest of the internet where pseudonymity, anonymity or often random names were the social norm. Second, it’s the primary mechanism we have to protect millions of people every day, all around the world, from real harm.”
The new app is the company’s answer to the budding social network Ello’s feature of letting the users use fake names.
Ello has announced that it will never disclose the personal information of its users to advertisers.
On its manifesto which is posted at the main page of its site Ello stated that, “Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data,” and added “Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold. We believe there is a better way.”
Ello said that it has been receiving 40,000 requests per hour from people who wants to join the new social media website.