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Facebook Messenger Could Soon Get Public Chatrooms

A long-dead Facebook app could be given new life in Messenger soon. According to a new report, Facebook may be looking to add public chat rooms to its popular messaging app, which would mark the company's first foray into public chat since 2014's now-defunct Rooms app.

Photo: Hoan Do

Photo: Hoan Do

TechCrunch received word of the potential new feature via developer evangelist Chris Messina, who reportedly found the information right within Messenger's code. Some of the text found within Messenger reads as follows:

"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.”

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That makes it sound like Messenger could get chat rooms about specific events and themes, such as a big Monday night NFL game or the next major political debate. TechCrunch later received screenshots of Messenger Rooms via Hoan Do. The images in question look nearly identical to a regular Messenger group chat, except there are options for joining, sharing and managing public rooms.

Photo: Chonlachai / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Chonlachai / Shutterstock.com

Facebook's previous attempt at public chat, an app called Rooms, allowed for similar functionality but was shut down in 2015 due to its low user base. Since then, other public chatting apps have surfaced (such as the appropriately-named Public), but it doesn't seem like any of them have truly taken off.

Facebook would not confirm the existence of Messenger Rooms with TechCrunch, but did note that "we often run small tests - nothing else to share beyond that."

Given Facebook's knack for rapidly adding new features to Messenger — you can now use the app to order flowers, call an Uber and give money to friends — the addition of Rooms seems inevitable. Facebook is basically one big public forum anyway, and Messenger Rooms would provide a more focused place to have those sports debates and political arguments.