Facebook Rooms was released as a standalone app back in 2014 and stands as one of the failed experiments of Facebook. It was killed off last year in December but it seems that the social network wants another go at it. The Rooms feature has now been made part of Messenger. It’s basically focused on chats with strangers about topics that you don’t want to bother your friends with. Think of it as a basic discussion forum except that the members are capped at 250 for now.
“Group chats today are focused on people you know — friends and family — and what we’ve found by talking to users is there’s a lot of need for conversations about specific topics.[Rooms] will be for topic-based conversations and so people can talk with others they may not know.”
-Facebook Messenger Product Manager Drew Moxon
The feature will allow users to get in touch with strangers on Messenger but in a way that’s akin to a forum. Chats would be grouped by topics ranging from Fantasy Football to Power Rangers to Quantum Physics to Kim Kardashian to Marvel vs. DC. Of course, Facebook’s rules against inappropriate content would still apply. Users can share pictures, links, videos etc with them and configure notifications and invite members. It’s sort of like the combination of Groups and Messenger. Eventually, Facebook may just come out with its own ecosystem built around all sorts of social interaction. A new animal in the field of tech, unlike any before it.
The Rooms feature is being tested in Canada and Australia much like the Messenger Day feature that was being tested in Poland. Rooms can be public or private and Facebook has the right to kick out any trolls or hate mongers because that has been known to happen on forums. Whether Facebook is trying to get a bit of the Reddit or 4chan crowd on its site is anyone’s guess but that may not be a good idea. Facebook is already a place where people spew hatred but 4chan is on another level. It’s a sanctuary for trolls.
Facebook has already begun building a user base that consistently uses Messenger for more than just chatting. Chatbots and PayPal, as well as different hidden games within the app, have turned it into an almost iMessage with a bigger user base. Facebook is counting on the 1 billion users already on board to make the Rooms feature a hit.