Facebook Rooms 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Facebook on Thursday unveiled a brand new iPhone application. Called Rooms and available free of charge in the App Store, it’s a flashback of sorts to the Internet bulletin boards which used to be all the rage in the 1980s. It’s essentially that anonymous Facebook sharing app that the The New York Times reported on earlier this month.

Facebook Creative Labs project, Rooms lets you create places for the things you’re passionate about.

It’s fairly straightforward: just pick your favorite topic, customize the look and feel of your room and share with others. Others can join your rooms either through private invitations or by posting a public link.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Room is a lot like Reddit. “It’s perfect for the things you love and interests that make you unique,” said the social networking giant.

“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,” Facebook said.

You don’t need a Facebook account to use Rooms as the app accepts standard logins in the form of username and password. You don’t even have to give them your email address — only a username will do — unless you want to be on the safe side in case your password needs resetting.

Harkening back to the early days of the Internet, indeed.

In another much welcomed move, Rooms doesn’t even let you import friend lists from Facebook or any other service. That’s a pretty big deal given Facebook’s own discussion groups require people to go by their real names.

Facebook Rooms 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)

Interestingly enough, you can change your username from one room to another. After creating a room, the app offers some basic customization choices, with more to come in the future.

I was surprised that the software would allow me to change both the look and functionality of the Like button, by changing its text and emoji. Moreover, it’s possible to change a cover photo and dominant colors, create custom “pinned” messages and more.

You’re in control of the rooms you create, with interesting options at your disposal allowing you to approve each user-submitted post, list your room in search and more.

Facebook Rooms 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Of course, everyone can contribute to the conversation and interact with your community by posting messages, adding photos and videos with captions and more.

Rooms is born out of Facebook’s acquisition of a start-up called Branch Media, which was working on the technology prior to the Facebook deal.

Key highlights:

  • Pick a topic: Create a home for people who are as into the topic as you are.
  • Customize the look and feel: Pick a color, choose an emoji for your like button, and more!
  • Be whoever you want to be: Choose nicknames for yourself, real or made up.
  • Share with others: Invite other people so you can share photos, videos, and notes with them.

The 16.5-megabyte iPhone and iPod touch download requires iOS 7.0 or later. The app is initially available on iOS in the United States, United Kingdom and some other English speaking countries.

[App Store, Facebook PR, Rooms Website, Rooms Blog]

  • Gary T

    Sounds like it’s very similar to Reddit.

    • Hence the title and references in this article

      • Gary T

        That was not the title when I posted my comment.

      • Ohh then you have my apologies.

    • RarestName

      Sounds more like 4chan to me.

  • Gary T

    Says it’s no longer available when I try to download it. Already pulled?

    • Jonathan

      Works for me.

    • Works for me too

      • Gary T

        Still not working for me. Odd.

      • Hmm try grabbing it through iTunes?

      • Gary T

        Not at home right now. I’ll try again tonight.

      • Eliot A Anderson

        I just tried.

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Is this that anonymous posting thing they were talking about a couple weeks ago? This might be it.

  • Jeff Ramirez

    Okay…. :/

    • Gary T

      I get this as well.

    • I’ll give you the .IPA if you give me your iPhone 6+ 😛 haha

    • VITICO

      me too..

  • Huh, finally a Facebook app that I actually want. Say, does anyone remember that other app they made? I think it was catapult or something? 😛

  • apple_igeorge

    Icon made with MS Paint?

  • Virus

    Nothing with Facebook is “Anonymous”

    • I just signed up and it didn’t even ask for anything related to Facebook. It didn’t even ask for my name.

      • Uhm, you do realize that facebook apps can talk to one another (just like google apps), right? If you have the “anonymous” app installed as well as the “non-anonymous” app, you’re as hidden as you are in the “non-anonymous” app…

      • Brian Davis

        While this may be true from the networking standpoint, you’d have to allow Room’s to authenticate with your facebook profile. It cant just pull that information without your permission.

      • Wrong. I didn’t have to authenticate Chrome with my google account for it to get access to the YouTube and maps app. It automatically detected it was installed and set them as the default for opening YouTube AND Maps links respectively. Also, when links open in the YouTube or Maps app (regardless if I have an account setup with those particular apps), those apps were aware it came from Chrome and displayed a “Return to chrome” bar at the top of the screen.

        So, nothing stops facecrook from properly programming their apps from sending whatever data when one demands it from the other…nothing is anonymous with facecrook.

      • Brian Davis

        That’s not true, maps and YouTube both ask when opening the app the first time which account you’d like to use. While it recommends the one that you are currently using one you have already entered, it doesn’t force/assume that you do.

  • How anonymous is anonymous? Are they logging data and if so what. Excuse my skepticism but after all, this is Facebook we’re talking about…

    • DIesel

      WHO CARES. Like give me one good reason how the anonymity you’re concerned about is important or any way relevant

      • It’s important because data needs to be accurate and relevant and only used for a specific purpose…

      • DIesel

        well what sort of specific purposes?

  • Great Scott

    Oh good because the Facebook name is synonymous with privacy.

  • Jason Baroni

    This icon is disgusting!

  • Dil

    There will be assloads of porn on it in no time!

  • Eliot A Anderson

    Wont download.
    Anybody have a final solution or story?

  • Marcus

    I don’t know why everyone is having so many problems with this… I just downloaded it a few minutes ago and it works fine. I’m in the United States.

  • I tried it. It’s awful.