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Facebook Members Can Soon Log in to Apps, Stay Anonymous


Facebook had a little something special in store for everyone Wednesday, as evidenced by the slew of major consumer- and developer-themed announcements made at the company’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced a new way for Facebook users to log in to third-party apps anonymously, meaning people can still log in with Facebook but opt to keep their identities private while browsing. For advertisers and app makers looking to turn a profit, the company talked about its “Audience Network,” the long-awaited mobile ad network now open for registration. For the rest of Facebook’s developer audience, the social network promised not to break things anymore.

Most significant for Facebook’s 1.28 billion members is “Anonymous Login,” a twist on the standard Facebook Login option, which gives people a way to try an app without sharing any of their personal information from the social network. “Today, we want to do more to put control and power back into people’s hands,” Zuckerberg said.

The anonymous login button, which is black as opposed to Facebook’s iconic blue, is meant to let members easily log in to applications without a username or password — and without the sometimes unnerving commitment of handing over personal Facebook data to an untrusted source. You can do that at a later date if you want, of course.

The company, however, is currently only testing the new login option with select developers like Flipboard, which means you likely won’t see the black button in your favorite apps for several months to come.

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.

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