Facebook may have been peeved about people not using their real names on its main site, but it's apparently willing to try out anonymity on mobile devices. The company is said to be working on a stand-alone app that would allow users to interact without having to provide their real names, say sources who (fittingly) spoke on condition of anonymity to the New York Times. The app, said to be scheduled for release over the next few weeks, is ostensibly designed to assure users they can comfortably discuss sensitive topics—perhaps health care or other subjects "in which not using one’s real name is beneficial," the sources say. The team has reportedly been experimenting with different incarnations of the app for the past year or so; it's unclear if and how the app would sync up with a user's main Facebook account.
Mark Zuckerberg has given signs before that Facebook may be willing to venture into anonymous territory, including introducing an anonymous login feature in April that limits what info users let third-party apps see, Reuters reported. The Times notes, however, that no one's sure yet how Facebook will keep the trolls in check—a problem even the company's chief product officer acknowledged in a Facebook post last week. "The stories of mass impersonation, trolling, domestic abuse, and higher rates of bullying and intolerance are oftentimes the result of people hiding behind fake names, and it's both terrifying and sad," he wrote. Regarding the supposed app, a Facebook spokesman informs the Times "the company does not comment on rumor or speculation." (Read more Facebook stories.)