Facebook Testing Rooms Feature for Messenger in Australia, Canada

The Rooms feature in Messenger that Facebook began testing in September has been rolled out to users in Australia and Canada.

The Rooms feature in Messenger that Facebook began testing in September has been rolled out to users in Australia and Canada.

The social network introduced a stand-alone Rooms application in October 2014, saying at the time that it was intended to bring users together to discuss topics of their choice with text, photos and videos, and without having to use their real names.

The app was then shuttered in December 2015, along with two other stand-alone apps from the now extinct Facebook Creative Labs unit, Slingshot and Riff.

In September, “developer evangelist” Chris Messina shared references to a Rooms feature that he discovered in the source code for Messenger with Josh Constine of TechCrunch, and TechCrunch reader Hoan Do shared the screenshots below with Constine, showing the Rooms features in actions and highlighting elements including joining Rooms, chatting with users (friends and non-friends), managing Rooms and sharing Rooms.

MessengerRooms1 MessengerRooms2

Last Friday, Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson of Australian newspaper The Courier Mail reported that Facebook began testing the Rooms feature for Messenger in Australia and Canada.

Product manager Drew Moxon spoke with Dudley-Nicholson, saying that the new feature was being tested as a way to avoid sharing content with friends that those friends aren’t interested in, and adding:

Group chats today are focused on people you know–friends and family–and what we’ve found by talking to users is there’s a lot of need for conversations about specific topics. This will be for topic-based conversations and so people can talk with others they may not know.

Moxon also shared the screenshot below with Dudley-Nicholson.

MessengerRoomsAustraliaTest

Readers: Would you like to see Facebook roll this feature out globally?