Thanks to the buzz surrounding anonymity apps like Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak, Facebook could be working on a Secret-like app of its own, reports Re/code’s Mike Isaac.
Facebook has even contacted Secret about the idea, sources told Isaac, though this was not said to be an acquisition talk. Both Facebook and Secret declined to comment to Isaac on such a conversation. (We’ve reached out to Facebook, too, and will update when we hear back.)
Rumours of a $US100 million offer from Facebook to buy Secret that reverberated through Silicon Valley this week were shot down by two people familiar with the social networking giant’s plans.
Such an app, homegrown or not, would be a big change for Facebook, which spent the last decade not letting users use fake or made-up names. Its user agreement currently says, “Facebook users provide their real names and information.”
But Facebook’s attitude on that could be softening. Apps that could be used anonymously were developed as part of a massive three-day hacker event held by Facebook in December, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone and Sarah Frier reported at the time.
That was the kick-off event for a project called Facebook Creative Labs. Its goal is to help Facebook develop all sorts of new apps. It’s the project responsible for Paper, the news reading app Facebook launched in February.
After the event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Stone and Frier:
“I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things,” he says. “If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.”