If you’ve ever felt the need to start chatting with random strangers online, Facebook has a new feature with you in mind. Well, when I say “new” I really mean “old” but in a repackaged new location. Facebook Rooms as a standalone app was killed off back in December last year, but it is now reappearing as a part of Messenger.
Messenger Rooms is basically a public chat room on whatever topic the creator wants to make the room about. Think of it like Reddit but capped at 250 participants (for now). Rooms can be private as well as public, and Facebook reserves the right to boot any undesirables out if they start playing up, because this is the internet after all.
The feature is designed to avoid hassling your friends about topics they have no interest in, according to Facebook Messenger product manager Drew Moxon:
“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.”
Messenger Rooms are currently being field tested in Canada and Australia, but assuming all goes well, the feature should roll out globally soon. Messenger Rooms were rumored to be on the way a couple of months ago, but this is the fist time we’ve seen the feature active. If you’ve got access to Rooms we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.