Facebook is internally testing a new chat room feature designed to facilitate the discussion of viral content among friends. News of the feature first broke yesterday and has since been confirmed by the social network according to CNET.
We’re told that any Facebook user can initiate a room by clicking “Host Chat” at the top of their home page at which point any of their friends could join in on the discussion. Chat rooms will then be promoted in News Feeds but naturally, the host could set restrictions on who could join – perhaps by implementing a password.
As of now, the chat rooms only support text which is a bit limited when you compare it to other similar services like Google Hangouts. It’s unclear exactly how Facebook would market the chat room as its purpose seems to overlap with Facebook Groups but in a less structured manner.
Another bi-product of the chat room could be increased use of Facebook Messages, the company’s cross-platform messaging app. Facebook would probably like to get more of their 1.11 billion members on board with this app as competitors like WhatsApp, Kik, Viber and Line are all gaining momentum in the space.
It’s too early to know for sure if the dated chat room experience is going to make a comeback but it certainly appears that way. No word yet on when Facebook plans to take this new feature public, however.