Facebook Messenger Rooms feature allows users to talk to strangers on specific topics

By @mik_mapa on
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Facebook Messenger Rooms feature began rolling out to Australian users on Friday, allowing them to swap topic-based messages with strangers. 

"This will be for topic-based conversations and so people can talk with others they may not know," Facebook product manager Drew Moxon, told The Courier Mail.

The new app feature allows users to choose between public rooms and private rooms. The public option is open to all users interested in similar topics such as politics and favourite team sports. The users can automatically find and join existing rooms where they can engage in conversations. However, Facebook limits the number of users to only 250 participants per room. The private option is just an enhanced version of the group chat that requires approval before anyone can join.

Facebook Messenger Rooms can also be used in organising events or sending out alerts that interests a large social network and political movements.

The app was originally launched as a separate app in October 2014 but it was shut down in December 2015. The app allowed users to sign up without using their real name. Room creators could customise the setting of the app such as adding a cover photo, changing text and emoji on the like button and customising member permissions. They could also remove group members that cause disruption in the room.

Rooms are now included in Facebook Messenger as one of its features. They available only in Australia and Canada at the moment. The addition of the Rooms feature in the Facebook Messenger app makes it more accessible for the app's more than 900 million users than releasing it as a separate Rooms app. Facebook also tested Messenger Day in Australia to challenge SnapChat's Stories.

Facebook Messenger is also competing with Instagram's own version of Stories and WhatsApp's Stories clone called Status.