Facebook has taken steps to improve user privacy by introducing a new anonymous log-in feature on apps that link with the social network. 

At the technology firm's developer conference in San Francisco, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the feature which will enable users to sign into apps that require a Facebook log-in, but without passing any of profile details to the app. 

The move is designed to encourage more people to sign in to third party apps using Facebook, eventually dropping the anonymity once they decide to use the new app long term. 

Mr Zuckerberg, the co-founder of the social network, described the new set-up as a way to ensure users can test new apps "without fear". 

"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 into apps anonymously," a Facebook spokeman said.

"Anonymous login lets people log in to apps so they don't have to remember usernames and passwords, but it doesn't share personal information from Facebook. People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app," he added.

The announcement was a reaction to feedback from users, who Facebook say are concerned about the amount of information being shared when they log into other apps with their Facebook details. 

Online privacy has been a growing issue since National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of the huge surveillance programmes undertaken by world governments. 

As well as tightening up its privacy stance, Zuckerberg announced Facebook is introducing its own advertising network that will enable adverts to appear within apps that have been catered to the user based on their Facebook data.

The Audience Network, as Facebook is calling it, will deliver the sort of adverts seen in smartphone apps, but thanks to the wealth of information Facebook has available from user profiles, industry experts believe this could change the shape of the mobile advertising industry. 

A study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK found that more than £1 billion was spent on mobile advertising in 2013, a more than 90% increase on the previous year.

This would suggest that the new approach could be a huge money spinner for Facebook, which in quarterly figures announced last week showed an over 100% increase in revenue compared with the same time last year.