Facebook is breaking away from the norm, by soon allowing users to interact anonymously.

The New York Times has reported that Facebook is developing a standalone app with a focus on anonymity. The idea is that you will use the yet-to-be-announced app to communicate with other people but without identifying your real name. The app is expected to launch in a couple weeks and will be a very different take on Facebook's original goal of associating users with their established online identities. In other words, Facebook is branching out.

Speaking of branches, the app's development is being led by Josh Miller. He founded the startup Branch Media, which offered two services: Branch, a website for publishing invite-only conversations, and Potluck, a web and mobile app “designed for friends to talk about cool things they find online". Both were acquired by Facebook in January. Miller now serves as a product manager at Facebook - and he and his team have been working on Facebook's new app for the last year.

The goal with Facebook's new app is that Facebook users would have both the opportunity and a platform to discuss whatever they want while using a pseudonym or even multiple pseudonyms. It could be a particularly intriguing service for people who may not want to openly talk about certain things online. It is thought the new app would be useful in health community discussions, for instance, though it's not yet clear if the app will take off at all.

Facebook has long been trying to launch standalone apps in recent years, in an attempt to expand its reach and product portfolio. The company has released apps like Camera, Poke, Paper, and Slingshot, to name a few. But only the latter two still exist, indicating Facebook is struggling to found successful products beyond its main social network.

We've contacted Facebook for a comment and hope to update soon.

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