May 1, 2014

Anonymous Login Among New Features Unveiled At Facebook Developer Conference

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Facebook, the world’s largest social network has unveiled a new feature that will allow members to use browse or use mobile apps without sharing any personal information, various media outlets reported on Wednesday.

Speaking at the F8 Facebook Developers Conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Anonymous Login, which will allow users to anonymously try out apps without exposing their identities. The new feature will allow people to log in to apps so they don’t have to remember usernames or passwords while still staying under the radar.

According to CNET’s Jennifer Van Grove, the Anonymous Login button will be black instead of blue, and users will have the option to share their personal information with the app at a later date, if so inclined. The feature is currently being tested with a few select developers, including Flipboard. It likely won’t be rolled out to the public for several months, she added.

“The move addresses concerns about user privacy as Facebook seeks ways to encourage people to explore new apps,” Van Grove explained. “The news aligns with one of the event's broader themes around putting people first and giving them more control over their data. Zuckerberg expounded upon this notion of improving trust and getting people more comfortable with using Facebook in conjunction with third-party apps.”

TechHive writer Caitlin McGarry added that Anonymous Login will likely have “a ripple effect” given that Facebook’s login tool is used by more than three-fourths of the top apps available on iOS and Android devices. Even those without social media accounts should be able to skip registration procedures for untested software.

Facebook has also rolled out a new version of their login procedures that will allow users to pick and choose what information will be made available to different apps by individually unchecking different categories. For example, the social network says that people can opt to share their email address with an app, but not their birthday, with a few simple taps. In addition, the new login tool will not post to a person’s Facebook page without permission.

“One of the things we’ve heard over and over again is people want more control over how they share their information, especially with apps. We take this really seriously,” Zuckerberg said during his F8 keynote speech. “If people don’t have the tools they need to feel comfortable using your apps, it’s bad for them and it’s bad for you.”

Company officials also announced other new initiatives designed to strengthen Facebook’s mobile presence, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. They explained that developers wouldn’t have to carry too much of the administrative burden for advertising, since Facebook will be handing the billing, reporting and related duties.

The event provided more details on the social media website’s Audience Network, a mobile ad network that the company said will help app makers monetize their programs. Van Grove explained that the network, which some clients began testing in January, will push ads off of Facebook and into apps.

“Advertisers can choose to run banner, interstitial, or native ads off Facebook to encourage app installs and other activities, and they can take advantage of Facebook's usual targeting and measurement tools,” she added. “Expectations of a wider rollout have had company watchers salivating over the prospect of additional revenue from Facebook ads running off the network.”