Total Reversal: Mark Zuckerberg Embraces Web Anonymity in Facebook F8 Keynote

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Former West Coast Editor
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Snapchat. Whisper. Secret. Facebook?

Not quite yet. Still, it became obvious today that the rising anonymous social media movement is too big for even Mark Zuckerberg to ignore anymore.

Today, in his keynote at the F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco, the Facebook founder and CEO embraced anonymity on the web, something he’s publicly dismissed before as lacking integrity.

Related: Facebook to Hold Its First Developer Conference Since 2011

Yes, the leader of the world’s most popular and completely namedrop-driven social network announced that Facebook will soon let users anonymously log in to apps and websites. Yup, no names needed, fully under the radar, minus real identities. See for yourself via Facebook's official "Anonymous Login" announcement

So, no, Zuck wasn’t being facetious when he said, “This is going to be a different F8.” Not at all.

The news of the radical change marks a huge turnaround for Facebook, one that will soon enable the social giant’s users, all 1.28 billion (monthly active users) strong, to tweak their privacy settings in ways that let them control exactly which personal information they do or don’t share with apps and websites, along with what they do on them with their Facebook friends. Because, like Zuck joked during his speech, not everyone needs to know you just listened to Lana Del Ray on Rdio.

Zuckerberg wants to take the fear out of logging in with Facebook. "We know a lot of people are scared of pressing this button," he said, referring to the "Login With Facebook" button so many apps rely on to connect their users.

Related: This App Lets Users Spill Their Secrets -- And Do They Ever

So, in his own words, the big idea behind letting people choose what they share "line by line" when logging in to a website or app using their Facebook credentials, is for users to have "a lot more control, and for people to trust Facebook logins again." 

Surprising anonymity stance reversal aside, today’s summit is mainly geared toward app and software developers, complete with a busy docket of breakout sessions on how to “build,” “grow” and “monetize” mobile apps.

It’s no surprise that Zuckerberg spent a good chunk of his brief time on stage today to spin Facebook as a one-stop-tool shop for app developers. Some 1 billion of Facebook’s users access the social networking site from mobile devices and mobile advertising accounts for a massive chunk -- approximately 60 percent -- of the company’s earnings.      

The conference, which some 2,000 developers are attending, is being held all day today at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse Exhibition Center and features pro tips not only from Facebook, but also from subsidiaries Parse and Instagram. Facebook held the summit every year from 2007 to 2011. Today marks its return following a three-year break and perhaps the beginning of a whole new, anonymous-friendly Facebook.

Related: 4 Tactics for Surviving Facebook's Algorithm Changes (Infographic)

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