Facebook launches Anonymous Login to boost user privacy

Facebook has moved to quell privacy concerns surrounding the amount of personal information its users surrender when signing into third-party apps with the launch of Anonymous Login.

The service allows users to sign into apps via Facebook without passing on any of their personal information to the developers behind them.

The social networking giant has allowed people to use their Facebook details to log into third-party web services and apps for some time now. This saves users from having to create separate usernames and passwords across multiple sites.

People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app.

In a blog post, Facebook claimed the offering will allow users to gain a better understanding of how apps work before they share information about themselves.

"Sometimes people want to try out apps, but they're not ready to share any information about themselves. For this, we're introducing a way to log in to apps anonymously," the post states.

"People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app."

Anonymous Login is being tested by a select group of app developers, ahead of its general release.

The announcement was made at Facebook's developer conference in San Francisco, with the firm's CEO Mark Zuckerberg claiming the service would make users feel more comfortable with using the site as a gateway to third-party services.

"By giving people more power and control, they're going to trust all the apps that we build more, and over time use them more. And that's positive for everyone," he said.

The company also used the event to flag the arrival of revamped version of its traditional login screen, which offers users greater control over the data shared with third-party apps.

"With the new Login, people can select the data an app gets by unchecking categories of information, one-by-one. For example, if someone wants to share their email address with an app, but not their birthday, they can make that choice with a couple of apps," the blog post continued.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.