Many anonymous apps rely on users to flag objectionable content, but Facebook's new app hands the keys over to room creators and their appointed moderators to watch out for inappropriate posts. Moderators can ban users, which seems tricky given that users don't have to register for accounts and all pseudonyms are throwaways. According to TechCrunch, the ban is device-specific, so trolls can't create burner accounts to return and harass people. All rooms are public, but room creators can choose whether their rooms are searchable and who can post.
Unlike the commenters on forums of yesteryear (and Reddit today), room creators can make themselves at home with color schemes, emojis, and other personalization tools. Room topics can be about anything and everything.
A great experiment
Facebook's great unbundling of the big blue app has seen some success, but there have also been complete flops. Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger continue to rack up new users, while ephemeral messaging apps Poke and Slingshot were dead on arrival. And as much as I love it, Facebook's newsreader-meets-News Feed experiment Paper isn't exactly a smash hit. (PSA: You can read Facebook messages in Paper without installing Messenger. Oh, and there are no ads. Why aren't you using Paper?) But Facebook hasn't pulled the plug on any of its Creative Labs experiments, giving them time to find their audience or falter. With the freedom to try new features and fail, Rooms can be exactly what users want it to be: a safe mobile chatroom far removed from Facebook.
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