Facebook introduces Rooms app for anonymous conversations
Today Facebook announced its new app, "Rooms." The app allows people to meet in virtual chat rooms on the social networking site, use aliases, and discuss anything they want anonymously, reported ABC News.
A chat room / message board hybrid
The new app offers access to something that is a cross between a chat room and a message board. The idea is that people will use the app to discuss niche topics of interest freely. Those topics could include anything from the current state of the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq to advice on how to lose weight fast.
Facebook has a real name policy. Users must register based on their actual identities. Rooms, on the other hand, allows users to choose any username they want. Additionally, they can change their names in each different room they enter.
Facebook's acquisition of discussion site Branch last year preempted the app's unveiling. Josh Miller, one of Branch's founders, said that Rooms will allow people to express themselves in ways they may not want to share with friends.
"One of the things our team loves most about the Internet is its potential to let us be whoever we want to be," Miller said in a blog post, according to ABC News.
With escalating controversy currently surrounding the state of the Internet in the face of increased censorship and surveillance efforts, the new app is a welcome addition to the online world.
App facilitates free expression
Miller explained Rooms allows people to revel in the sides of themselves they are not used to letting out.
"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," commented Miller.
Rooms became available on Thursday in the Apple app store for users in the United States, United Kingdom and other English speaking countries, Facebook announced, according to USA today.
"Now you can connect with people anywhere around the world who like something as much as you do," Miller added.
While any form of free expression is a good thing, the app may also be used for illegal and malicious purposes. It remains to be seen how Facebook will address issues of security and illegal content.