New Chat Room App

By: Gabe Dubois, E23 Reporter

A few weeks ago, Facebook launched it’s new chat room app for iPhones, “Rooms” to try and bring back the anonymous chat room. The app resembles the websites from the 1990s where people can chat with anybody under anonymous names. The app requires no personal information, but each ‘Room’ is invite only.

The purpose of Rooms was to bring people together with common interests that wouldn’t normally meet. Because each chatroom is invite only, in order to join, you must receive a 2D bar code from another member that you scan with a camera on your phone that allows you to connect to a site. You can also set chat rooms to have an age minimum of 18 if you desire once you have created one. Other than age, any personal information you tell people in the app is completely optional and up to your own discretion.

Some people are concerned about the new app, however. Anonymous chat rooms have a history of generating stalkers, and people creating fake identities for immoral reasons. Kids are still taught in school to be careful of what they put on the Internet, because they don’t know who could find it, and what they will do with it. Key safety aspects to remember when chatting online are to not put your address or phone number in your profile, and don’t tell anyone whom you have never met personal information.

This fear of stalking and unknown people using private information was one of the reasons Facebook made the app invite only. The convenience factor for joining a Room is not high, so you have to have a strong desire to be in that Room to actually join. Monitors of the Room can also filter concrete approval to ban anyone from their chat, and block them from rejoining.

This new app appears to be a more efficient way of creating Facebook groups. It has elements that are good for people who want to gossip about the latest topics on a particular subject, and elements that are good for professional business conversations. This could help eliminate the low communication opportunities of Facebook groups, and the inconvenience of the group text messages.

Whether the app will take off and become the new twitter, or dwindle away like Myspace and the anonymous chat rooms from the 90s is still unclear. Facebook has faith though that this could be a new big thing in social media.