Facebook is reportedly looking at integrating anonymity features with the growing popularity of anonymous-sharing apps, such as Secret and Whisper.
Facebook has been on a bit of an acquisitions spree lately, picking up a wide range of companies, from Bangalore based mobile app analytics firm Little Eye Labs to virtual reality hardware developer Oculus and also possible competitors in the social space, such as WhatsApp and earlier, Instagram.
A report in Recode suggests that Facebook is now exploring anonymity features, and has been holding talks with Secret, one of the big successes in anonymous sharing. According to Recode however, the rumours of a potential acquisition are off the mark, and neither Secret, nor its top competitor Whisper, have given any indication of being willing to sell.
The growing popularity of anonymous-sharing apps is clearly troubling for Facebook, which is losing hearts and minds in one of the most important segments - the youth. The growing popularity of apps like SnapChat and WhatsApp are proof that the always logged in, always public nature of conversations on Facebook is not always preferable to direct conversations. Twitter has added VM's - private video messages - to Vine, which again addresses the need for private, one-to-one communication.
Many people maintain groups for friends, and separate groups for family on apps like WhatsApp, so that their group of friends can see the party pictures, while their family gets the "reached home" updates.
All this is possible on Facebook as well, but the process for doing so is fairly cumbersome. The ease with which people can limit access to their content, using all these other platforms, is something that Facebook has to contend with now; whether it can adapt without losing its own unique appeal remains to be seen.