Facebook’s Non-Facebook Messaging App

Rooms is a new messaging app created by Facebook Labs -- sans the Facebook branding -- reminiscent of early message boards and chat rooms.

rooms

rooms

Earlier this month, multiple sources reported that Facebook was working on an anonymous app. The app — Rooms — has since been released, but it doesn’t seem like any other Facebook product because of its nature and the lack of Facebook branding.

“A room is a feed of photos, videos, and text — not too different from the one you have on Instagram or Facebook — with a topic determined by whoever created the room,” the official blog post reads. Each room works as a single topic forum that allows users to post according to parameters set by the room’s creator.

The post continues:

Rooms is designed to be a flexible, creative tool. You can change the text and emoji on your like button, add a cover photo and dominant colors, create custom ‘pinned’ messages, customize member permissions, and even set whether or not people can link to your content on the web.

What’s really interesting is how little this product resembles Facebook. The app allows pseudonyms, doesn’t rely on friends lists, and there’s no way to connect your main Facebook account. The service even has Twitter and Instagram accounts to promote itself, which is very unlike other Facebook products.

“This level of specificity seems to be at the heart of Rooms, which feels more like an older era of the Web than the sprawling, hyper-connected one we usually occupy,” remarks Taylor Hatmaker, writing for the Daily Dot. Rooms does seem to follow a simpler path. It echoes Pinterest boards, Tumblr pages and subreddits — but it’s not exactly like any one of them. However, the app does bear some resemblance to another app called “Room,” which launched last month.

Branching out from the main Facebook brand may be part of a strategy to make sure that new services from Facebook don’t bear the sins of the father, so users might be more likely to trust them. That said, the Rooms don’t seem all that secure, which could be cause for concern all on its own. But maybe that’s a feature, not a bug.