Facebook Rooms, the social network’s semi-anonymous messaging service, is back—sort of. Going forward, those in Australia and Canada will have access to Rooms inside Facebook Messenger.
Rooms is designed as an outlet for people to talk about interests their friends may not share with other like-minded individuals, Facebook Messenger Product Manager Drew Moxon tells Australia’s Courier-Mail.
“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,” Moxon said. “This will be for topic-based conversations and so people can talk with others they may not know.”
If this sounds familiar, Facebook initially released a standalone Rooms app for iOS in the US in October 2014, allowing users to chat anonymously about various topics. But social-networking app Room, which claimed to be the “first mobile application that enables you to create and join mini private” chat rooms, accused Facebook of stealing its idea.
Ultimately, Facebook pulled the plug on its Creative Labs department in December 2015, which produced products like Rooms, Riff, and Slingshot, ending that experiment.
Now, however, Rooms is back, albeit inside Facebook’s popular Messenger service. Users will be able to create public rooms to chat about the economy, Toronto Maple Leaves, or an election, for example. Or create private rooms to talk about films, the environment, or typography, the Courier-Mail reports. It could also come in handy when organizing large events like protests and rallies or sending out alerts, TechCrunch points out.
Facebook did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.
Here’s to hoping Zuckerberg & Co.’s second attempt is better than its first, which PCMag called “the Facebook-esque chatroom app for 21st century that no one is asking for.”