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Facebook Messenger debuts its anonymous group messaging feature ‘Rooms’ in select countries

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For long, Facebook has tried experimenting with the idea of anonymous messaging among users with similar interests. The social media giant even brought back the old internet era with the launch of its standalone Rooms app back in 2014, but it failed to gain traction. Now banking on its billion-user-strong Messenger platform, Facebook is yet again testing a public room-style chat feature. This new feature is currently going live in select markets to enable users to interact with new users on specific topics.

The Messenger Rooms feature has been in the works for quite some time now. There have previously been sightings of code segments related to the said feature in the messaging app but there has been no confirmation about the complete functionality and availability of the same. Facebook then stated that it was just a small test and Room users have the functionality to create their own interest-based rooms, share group links, invite members, configure notifications and a lot more.

Today, Australian publication The Courier Mail is reporting that Facebook is expanding the test circle for its new feature ‘Rooms’ to include Australia and Canada, before launching it to users internationally. The publication describes Rooms as “a bulletin board-style, real-time messaging feature” which is different from groups and has been designed to allow users to exchange messages, photos, links and any other info with strangers on a specific topic.

Group chats, as we’re all aware of, mostly constitues of only our family member and friends. Also, there can two scenarios where you would require a new messaging feature synonymous to ‘Rooms’. One, you’re aren’t interest in the discussion that take place on your Facebook Messenger groups or the people on the group don’t like the topics you like to discuss about. Though the two scenarios are inter-related, they point to the simple fact that your interests vary from those on the group. Thus, swoops in Rooms to enable you to conduct private conversation based around your interests.

Facebook Messenger product manager Drew Moxon told the publication that the new chat feature was designed to stop you from annoying your friends about interests you’re not certain they share with you. There will also be public rooms with conversation ranging from the new MacBook Pro to the old Meme(ahem! Donald Trump!) on the internet but you’ll also have the functionality to set Rooms as private. Then to join a room, you’ll be required to be approved by an administrator.

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. This will be for topic-based conversations and so people can talk with others they may not know,

says Moxon.

Over the past couple months, Facebook has been experimenting with a handful of features on its core social platform, its messaging app Messenger and its other widely popular messaging app WhatsApp. The social media giant recently started testing a Snapchat Stories clone inside Messenger and WhatsApp. The company is also working on popularising ephemeral messaging in developing markets, where Snapchat doesn’t have a majority of the audience, with the launch of its new app Flash. Also, Facebook is planning to extend the scope of its Live platform with the addition of style transfer based artsy filters.

There is currently no information on when Facebook plans to launch the ‘Rooms’ feature more widely but we’ve contacted them and will update you once we receive a reply.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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