Hidden chat room found in Facebook Messenger

CMO Innovation editors
CMO Innovation

The Facebook Messenger app has a hidden chat room feature that lets groups of users publicly converse on different topics.

According to a report on the TechCrunch, the code for this feature was found buried in the iOS app’s source code.

The tip comes from a tech evangelist who spotted the code that described the hidden ‘Rooms’ feature as: “Rooms are for public conversations about topics and interests. Each room has a link that can be shared so anyone on Messenger can join the conversation”. Screenshots of its user interface were later furnished by other developers.

The Rooms feature is likely to be implemented in the app as part of an internal trial that is being scaled up to include more users. It is unlikely that the code was included on whim though, as including frivolous or redundant code is not considered a good practice by developers.

Of course, the code itself offers no clue as to a possible release date, and it is also entirely possible for the feature to be pulled for any number of reasons before it is actually released.

It is worth noting that Facebook had introduced a similar app called Rooms in 2014 which offered the ability to create and join interest-based public chats. The app was later pulled after it failed to gain traction; it is probably reasonable to assume that the lesson learned by Facebook will help its second attempt succeed.

For now, new research shows that WeChat is winning the two-pronged race in China, where access to the likes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram is blocked. Research figures from iResearch shows that 61.1% of Chinese Internet users use WeChat over Alibaba’s Weibo.

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