Facebook launches new chatroom app … funnily enough, called Rooms

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Facebook has launched a new app, called Rooms, that lets you create anonymous chatrooms and post about anything you want – without having to give your real name. Yes, because that is just what the internet needs at the moment – more anonymous loons.

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Rooms, a Facebook Creative Labs app, is available today on iOS in the US, UK and some other English speaking countries,” Facebook announced in a post on its Newsroom blog.

The rooms themselves are invite only and can be a feed of photos, videos and text, but each room focuses on a single topic that is chosen by the creator.

So basically, it works much like an old-school BBS or chatroom. Remember those?

Facebook product manager Josh Miller, who headed up the Room project, said in a blogpost: “One of the things our team loves most about the internet is its potential to let us be whoever we want to be. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you look like or how old you are – all of us are the same size and shape online.”

“This can be liberating, but only if we have places that let us break away from the constraints of our everyday selves. We want the rooms you create to be freeing in this way. From unique obsessions and unconventional hobbies, to personal finance and health-related issues – you can celebrate the sides of yourself that you don’t always show to your friends.”

The anonymity angle is quite a departure for Facebook, which has always insisted that people use their real names when using the service.

And given Facebook’s dislike of anything that could potentially be controversial – its policy on any sort of nudity in images, for example – we wonder how it will police discussions of subjects such as sex?

Stuart O’Connor