social media

Social Craze: Facebook app “Rooms” risks cyberbullying

kettle mag, ryan fuller
Written by Ryan Fuller

Facebook unveiled it’s new app “Rooms” this week. The app allows users to create individual rooms based on a hobby or something they enjoy, and then invite others who have similar interests to chat. This can be anonymously, and users can create tons of pseudonyms without revealing their real identity. A strange change from Facebook’s company ethos, which has always been connecting with real people, using real names. 

What is “Rooms”?

The idea behind it is to create “places for the things you’re into, and invite others who are into them too.” It all sounds very nice, but not very interesting. Facebook have said that they wanted to move to different platforms, and create stand alone Apps that have no relation to Facebook. However, it seems “Rooms” didn’t really take much thought – only plunging into the pool of similar apps like Secrets and Whispers which are proving to become increasingly popular.

Issues of Privacy

There have also been issues with privacy on the app. Users can create pseudonyms under any name they so wish, however Facebook have come under much criticism for how exactly members are protected from trolls and bullies. There is the option in the app to block someone from your room, however I haven’t been able to find whether they can re-enter under a different name You can also kick someone out of a room if you feel they’re not using it for the reason it was set up. To invite someone to a “room” you send them a QR code, this is in an effort to ensure the room is more secure, and that it’s not bombarded by complete strangers. 


Image Credit – Hakan Dahlstrom, Flickr

Cyberbullying is an ongoing problem

Cyberbullying is a huge issue in modern society. The evolution of the internet and smartphone apps have been testimony to this, however, are companies like Facebook doing what they can to prevent it? Social Media website Ask FM came under fire earlier this year for it’s cyberbullying policies, with reports of many teenagers committing suicide because of the hate they received. Some people who were sending this hate, didn’t even know the person they were sending it too. Not that this makes the situation any less tragic, but it highlights the need for tougher punishments online.

Facebook have shocked a few, by taking such a leap into a strange side of social media that doesn’t really monitor behaviour. Although these sites claim to deal with cyberbullying and trolling, we still hear tragic stories of teen suicide and mental illness simply through using these Apps. Have Facebook made a mistake in joining the ‘anonymous chat world’? I guess only time will tell, let’s just hope that a huge social media conglomerate like Facebook can ensure users are safe when using their new app, and set the bar much higher than the rest so that younger people are still safe when using these apps. 

Have you downloaded Rooms? Should anonymous chat room apps exist? Let us know your thoughts below.