Report : Facebook Working On New Group Chat Feature
It has been reported widely that Facebook has built a new feature codenamed “Host Chat” that lets people set up chat rooms, which their friends can join without an invitation. Reminiscent of the old AOL chat rooms, it could get Facebook users to meet friends of friends and spend more time on the site.
Facebook told sources that they are testing the feature, but wouldn’t comment on details beyond saying “we do test things from time to time with a small percentage of users.” These tests can be as small as a fraction of a percent of all users and are sometimes isolated to particular countries, so it’s unlikely you’ll see this in your own Facebook unless the feature does well and receives a wider roll out.
The Facebook chat rooms feature creates an option to “Host Chat” in the Facebook home page’s status update composer. Currently users see buttons for “Update Status” and “Add Photos/Video”. The “Host Chat” button would be a third option there.
What makes Host Chat special is that any of the host’s friends can join it, without being invited. They see a story in their news feed that a friend is hosting a chat room and they’re given the option to jump in. This works similar to the chat feature within Facebook Groups, where anyone in the Group can join a discussion. Hosts can set privacy restrictions to limit who is allowed to join their room and can expel people they don’t want. There may be an option to allow friends of friends to join so a room could grow virally, but this isn’t confirmed.
The use of the news feed to spread and grow rooms takes advantage of Facebook’s ubiquity and the relatively large number of a user’s friends likely to be browsing the feed at any given time.