Jan 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:24 AM EST

Facebook introduces Rooms, revives old-school chatting

Oct 24, 2014 04:32 PM EDT


Before Facebook, Twitter, Google Apps, etc., there was Yahoo Messenger (YM), MSN and AOL. And even before them, there was mIRC.

Facebook's new application called "Rooms" is the reincarnation of IRC (Internet Relay Chat)-- a 1998-developed Internet Relay Chat which was a hit in the 90's--  which allowed users to connect anonymously across the internet and exchange simple text-based messages without logging in a website or using a browser. Rooms is also reminiscent of the now-defunct 'user-created rooms' of the Yahoo Messenger or YM. 

Can't relate? The above-mentioned ancient "chatting" facilities are now on the brink of extinction, with the advent of IOS, Android, and social networking sites.

And those who have not experienced the heydays of the old concept, Rooms will give you a blast to the past--sort of.

Facebook has released this new application, initially for IOS users, that will allow people to use its service anonymously. This means no real names and no FB accounts will be diclosed prior to "entering" the room. Everyone will be cloaked in mystery, the same way people are in online forums. But Rooms will be real-time chat where it will allow one to "set up a mobile-only in-app discussion space about any topic, customize the look and moderation settings, set a screen name for the room, and choose who to invite to share text, photos, videos, and comments with others in the room," according to Tech Crunch. It will also employ an innovative QR-code invite system where people take a photo or screenshot of a Room's code to gain entry.

The aim of the application is to open a venue for people to discuss anything under the sun without revealing too much about themselves, remaining "unknown" to participants in the room. The anonymity is for them to feel free to discuss sensitive issues, which they wouldn't normally do if their "real" identity is known.

Josh Miller, Facebook product manager, said: "There is a good reason in a lot of situations why you don't want people to know who you are and it's not because of something sketchy. We want to give people flexibility because that's what they want."

With Rooms, Facebook's community standard guidelines will still apply, with moderators having the power to ban those who exhibit abusive behavior. Rooms can also have an age rating through its "Yes, I'm over 18" button. Rooms does not require a Facebook account to use, only an email address to log in again if switching between devices, reports from the Guardian said.  

The app, which is presently iPhone-only, is the latest from Facebook's Creative Labs and marks another Facebook app which is separate from the core Facebook social network.

Rooms is currently for iPhones only, and is available in the U.S., U.K. Its Android counterpart is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2015.

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