Facebook Unveils Messenger Group Chat in Canada, Australia

If you thought political discussions, for one timely example, on regular Facebook walls were often fast and furious, wait until these conversations are moved to chat.

Facebook is in the process of enabling groups of people, and not necessarily "friends" who know each other, to interact around specific topics in real time on the social network.

The app is called Rooms, same as a standalone app it attempted two years ago but then pulled back right after it bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in February 2014.

If you thought political discussions, for one timely example, on regular Facebook walls were often fast and furious, wait until these conversations are moved to chat, where participants can post their comments all together immediately and in one window without dealing with various threads.

Users in the United States will have to wait for a while to be able to use it. The launch, which Facebook has discussed publicly earlier this year, was rolled out Nov. 11 through 13 in Canada and Australia. It is apparently a test to see if Facebook's Messenger chat platform is able to both scale and enable more public conversations focused on specific topics.

Facebook's first Rooms app was rescinded in October 2014 due to the closure of the company's internal R1D division, Creative Labs. The new Rooms represents a complete refresh as a side feature of its popular Messaging app.

In all accounts, Rooms enables administrators (those who create the Room) to approve the admission of new guests in the message feed. Admins also will have the ability to excise users if need be.

Information on when other markets will get the new feature was not available Nov. 14.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...