A “room” is a feed of photos, videos and text like Facebook or Instagram but the focus is on a single topic chosen by the person who created it.
Rooms is a throwback to the early days of the web when people from all over gathered in forums, message boards and chat rooms and used pseudonyms to discuss something they had in common.
As people spend more time on their phones, they are drifting away from the idea of the internet as a place to connect with people you don’t know in real life, said Josh Miller, product manager for Rooms.
“Now you can connect with people anywhere around the world who like something as much as you do,” he said.
Unlike on Facebook, people will be able to use pseudonyms in Rooms. That’s a major departure for Facebook, which has always insisted that people use their real names.
Rooms is the latest mobile app to emerge from Facebook’s Creative Labs, which is building a new generation of mobile apps as part of the company’s effort to grab people’s attention on their smartphones.
Rooms is targeting real-time conversations both public and private which are dominated by Twitter.
Facebook bought Miller’s company Branch for about $US15 million in January. Branch allowed Twitter users to more easily have small discussions.
Rooms is planning Android and desktop versions, Miller said.