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Facebook Releases Anonymous IM App

Room For One More?

After much speculation, Facebook has finally released its anonymous appRooms. For those of you that thought Facebook would copy apps like Whisper or Secret - much like it did with Snapchat - you were wrong. Facebook's new mobile app is more like mid-90s Internet Relay Chats (IRC) than anything else.
Josh Miller, creator of the app, stated the following in a blog post: "Inspired by both the ethos of these early web communities and the capabilities of modern smartphones, today we’re announcing Rooms, the latest app from Facebook Creative Labs. Rooms lets you create places for the things you’re into, and invite others who are into them too."

Facebook's Rooms relies on a similar sort of system to old chat rooms. Users can create rooms to discuss a wide variety of topics - from pugs to home-cooked meals. A user can create a room on a topic that interests them and then choose a wallpaper and set up rules in that particular room. For instance, the creator can decide to only allow over age users to interact in their room. Furthermore, the creator can set moderators and even ban bad users and trolls.

You don't need a Facebook account to join rooms, just an e-mail address. However, not all rooms can be searched for and if you want to join a particular discussion you may have to be invited to join. Each room has its own QR code, which can either be given to only a certain number of people or shared with as many people as possible via social media. To join a room, you have to screenshot its QR code and it will log you in. You can then choose what username you would like to use in this particular room, choosing to use your real name or any name you feel the most comfortable with.

Facebook is slowly trying to take over the mobile world, where more and more people are using their phones to check social media. This app could revolutionize mobile anonymous chat rooms, creating a safe place to share experiences and talk about sensitive topics. It's less complicated and mind-numbing than Reddit and Facebook's community standard guidelines still apply. This will hopefully prevent Rooms from becoming a place where trolling and cyber-bullying thrive.

This is a step in the right direction for Facebook. Instead of copying existing apps, they are actually providing a new mobile experience.

At the moment, the app is only available on Apple devices. However, an Android version is in the works.


Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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Facebook Releases Anonymous IM App Reviewed by Laura Veit on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 Rating: 5
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