Internet privacy has been central to online discourse for the past several months as the FCC weighs in on the issue, determining what level of power Comcast and other Internet Service Providers have over the data they traffic. Facebook has recently made two significant advances in the space of data privacy by allowing access to its services from the “dark web” (or Tor network) and its new app, Rooms.
Rooms gives people power, letting them promote admins, kick people, and control which posts are made. Sure, you can do these same things with a Facebook page, but these Rooms are more akin to those old Chat rooms on AIM or IRC and modern chat apps like GroupMe.
Rooms is the latest app created by Facebook’s Creative Labs, the same engineers who brought you Paper, Slingshot, and Mentions. Right now you can only download the app via iOS. Upon download, it's not very clear how to use the app (since the search function isn't built in) so here's how it works:
Users are able to create a “Room,” which is like a Facebook page that can be private, invite-only, or public, meaning that it's open to anyone who has the code. The code is a QR code which can be accessed by taking a screenshot or using your camera, and links directly to the Room. Once you join the room, you are prompted to create a username which (gasp!) can be whatever you want!
But despite being dressed up in a fresh coat of paint, what makes Rooms any good? And will this app really take off? I see Rooms as a sort of decentralized Reddit, specifically the structure of the subreddits. You feel like you discovered something special when you find that QR code for a Room talking only about Nail Art. That kind of UX just might be enough to entice some people for a period of time.
What do you think? Does the Rooms App have staying power?