For tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, messaging encourages platform lock-in, driving time spent on their other products.Chat rooms could be a powerful weapon in this fight because of their relatively passive nature.With direct private communication, users typically pop in and out just to send and read messages.But people often keep chat rooms open for long periods of time.The “Host Chat” button would be a third option there.
A mid-sized group of Facebook employees including some of the existing chat team have been working on the feature.
Hosts can set privacy restrictions to limit who is allowed to join their room, and can expel people they don’t want present.
There may be an option to allow friends of friends to join so a room could grow virally, but this isn’t confirmed.
This works similar to the chat feature within Facebook Groups, where anyone in the Group can join a discussion.
The use of the news feed to spread and grow rooms takes advantage of Facebook’s ubiquity and the relatively large number of a person’s friends likely to be browsing the feed at any given time.