Twitter's Controversial Algorithm Changes: What They Mean for Your BusinessTwitter Vs. Facebook: Which One Is Better for Promoting Your Brand?3 Free Twitter Tools PR Pros Can't Live WithoutSocially Stephanie: Social Media for the Automotive Industry
Get Schooled by YouTubers: Content and Business StrategyHow to Build Your Brand on YouTube and Reach New CustomersThanks to Google, YouTube Is Now a Viable Channel in Any Social Media StrategyHow to Maximize Your YouTube Views and Subscribers [INFOGRAPHIC]
Technology & Data
New IBM Study Reveals 3 Key Characteristics of the Most Successful CompaniesTalking Strategy and Data with Shannon Lee of Precision StrategiesHarnessing Mobile Users: The Power of Big Data in Social AppsMinority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering
- Tech & Innovation
- marketing automation
- Social Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Recap from the First-Ever Employee Advocacy SummitFormer IBM Senior Advisors Launch Brands Rising to Build Employee Advocacy ProgramsPerformance and Risk Management Through Social Media TrainingEmployee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories from the Field
- Customer Service
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Facebook May Embrace Anonymity and Allow Fake Names in Profiles
Posted on January 31st 2014
Since its inception, Facebook has always demanded its users register with their real names on the site.
This, of course, has been the cornerstone of the social network’s popularity as people could easily find old and new friends and the source of the company’s profitability as personal information became its internal revenue stream.
But now, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek for his company’s 10th anniversary, Mark Zuckerberg is suggesting that he’s willing to loosen the reins on anonymity and let people use Facebook — in some cases, at least — without their real names.
“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,” Zuckerberg said. “If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.”
Currently, it’s very difficult to use to fake name Facebook at the moment; although some people have successfully slipped under the radar. Should you have a name the site deems suspect (aka Super Jen), the social network will disable your account until you can prove that is in fact your legal name.
In the interview with Bloomberg, Zuckerberg didn’t get into details on how the real-identity rule would be pulled back. But Facebook has already made a $1 billion experiment in anonymity with Instagram, which Zuckerberg bought for $1 billion in 2012.
New pockets of Facebook that might allow anonymous sharing may come out of a new division called Facebook Creative Labs, which promises to introduce several new standalone Facebook apps. The first is a news app called Paper, to be released on Feb. 3rd.
In the meantime, Facebook faces growing threats from Twitter and Snapchat, both of which allow people to post and share under fake names. Facebook’s core ideology in 2004 was authenticity, at least in how people were expected to identify themselves. But, as more people seek privacy and become wary of a digital footprint following them for the rest of their lives, Facebook is facing a major challenge.
Of course, this trend toward online anonymity is not new. Snapchat’s Founder Evan Spiegel said in a recent speech,
“This notion of a profile made a lot of sense in the binary experience of online and offline. It was designed to recreate who I am online so that people could interact with me even if I wasn’t logged on at that particular moment.
Snapchat relies on Internet Everywhere to provide a totally different experience. Snapchat says that we are not the sum of everything we have said or done or experienced or published – we are the result.”
Meanwhile as Google + continues to insinuate itself into our lives through personal identity, now is the time for Facebook to make these kinds of changes in order to remain relevant and keep that ever evasive cool factor in play.
Considering that parents have grown increasingly wary about allowing their teens to join the site and job-seekers are concerned a post they made at 13 years old will come back to haunt them as adults (see infographic to the right), it’s no wonder that the popular site is considering anonymity.
In a call with analysts after releasing the earnings report, Facebook executives, including Zuckerberg, didn’t discuss “Facebook’s teen problem,” as Mike Isaac, of Recode, has put it.
Instead, they focussed on the company’s growth in ad sales—driven largely by the success of the ads that the company displays in people’s news feeds, sandwiched between links to cat videos and friends’ baby albums.
What do you think? If Facebook allows for anonymous profiles, will you change your existing profile or create a separate one under a false name?
For more stories like this, please visit The Social Marketing Blog.