Facebook Departs From Real-Name Policy to Allow Privacy in Rooms

New app reminiscent of old Web

Facebook’s new app Rooms is a nod to the desire for anonymity online and represents a throwback to the old-school Internet. Facebook launched its anticipated privacy-centric app this week to capture some of the momentum that has powered a rise in secret-sharing apps and the popularity of forums like Reddit, where participants go by aliases.

On Facebook, users have to reveal their real names, but not on Rooms. The iOS app allows Rooms creators to open their own topic threads for discussion. So far, popular Rooms cover everything from love of shoes to love of food.

Josh Miller, the product manager of Rooms, compared the app to the early days of the Internet, when people would meet in forums, chat rooms and message boards to discuss common topics without divulging their real names.

"Now you can connect with people anywhere around the world who like something as much as you do," he told USA Today.

Rooms is the latest creation out of Facebook’s Creative Labs, which built Slingshot, Paper and other apps to help diversify the social network’s portfolio of mobile properties.