Facebook Rooms: 5 Privacy Facts - InformationWeek

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10/25/2014
08:06 AM
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Facebook Rooms: 5 Privacy Facts

Facebook's new Rooms app lets you post pictures, videos, and messages anonymously. Here's a look at the data it collects, the privacy of your posts, and more.

Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter
Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Facebook on Thursday launched a new app called Rooms, a space inspired by throwback Web communities, where users can post photos, videos, and messages -- all under the guise of a pseudonym.

"Forums, message boards, and chatrooms were meeting places for people who didn't necessarily share geographies or social connections, but had something in common," said Facebook product manager Josh Miller in the announcement. "Places where what you said mattered more than who you were and whom you knew."

The app, which is available now for iOS only, lets users create, manage, and join communities, which are based on interests such as cooking, photography, and music. Rooms lets users upload photos and videos, and post messages without using their real name.

[Catch up on the latest Facebook changes. Read Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter.]

Rumors swirled earlier this month that Facebook had an anonymous app in the works -- a departure for the social network given its staunch policy on using authentic names. Facebook's Miller said that Rooms' open policy on usernames gives people more freedom to be who they are.

"It doesn't matter where you live, what you look like, or how old you are -- all of us are the same size and shape online," he said. "This can be liberating, but only if we have places that let us break away from the constraints of our everyday lives. We want the rooms you create to be freeing in this way."

Rooms, however, is a Facebook product -- the latest out of Facebook Creative Labs -- and as such, adheres to the social network's Data Use and Cookies policies, as well as its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Before you get started with Rooms, here's what you need to know about the data it may collect, the privacy of your posts, and the control you have over your account.

1. Your account is tied to your email address
To log into Rooms, you must provide the app with your email address, which serves as your ticket back into the app if you log out or switch devices. The app doesn't automatically recognize you as a Facebook user --in fact, you can't log into Rooms using your Facebook credentials at all -- so it's not necessary to provide the same email address that you use to log into the social network.

This differs from anonymous applications such as Whisper, which doesn't require an email address to get started. Otherwise, it's nothing out of the ordinary: Twitter, YouTube, and other websites that support pseudonyms require email addresses to sign in.

2. Everything you post is public
Room creators can customize a group with a certain level of privacy, including whether or not the room's posts can be discovered in search. Aside from that, however, the app warns 

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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ted90
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ted90,
User Rank: Strategist
9/25/2017 | 5:31:25 AM
Re: 192.168.1.1
I've been looking for this information for a long time, I'm happy to join your community!
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2014 | 10:27:55 AM
Re: Nice
Have not actively looked into any of these guys yet but I will check out Paper on your recommendation!
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
10/27/2014 | 10:21:39 AM
Re: Confusing
QR codes in Rooms are used as invites. For example, if you start a room that's invite-only, you share the QR code with people you want to join it, which gives them access. Unfortunately, QR codes are necessary for open rooms, too -- regardless of what you join, you need to either a) scan the QR code from an outside source, or b) take a screenshot of the QR code within the app, then move through a series of steps for the app to recognize it and allow you in. 

I'm not sure why Facebook chose to use QR codes over a string of numbers or letters, but it's a hassle. I imagine many people will give up before they even get to join a room and see what the fuss is about. 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
10/26/2014 | 6:02:15 PM
Re: Same old
@PedroGonzales if your information can never be deleted, I wonder how that can be in compliance with the EU's data guidelines. They include "the right of erasure."                                       
H@mmy
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[email protected],
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2014 | 5:22:49 PM
Re: Confusing
@Kristin your comment made me go through reviews of 'Rooms'. The first review I read is complaining about the UI. It just makes me curious to know whats the use of QR code there. Please share your reviews about it, if any one has used the app. I hope Kristin can write another blog on this.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
10/26/2014 | 5:13:22 PM
Confusing
The big problem here is the UI. Rooms is not intuitive to use, especially with the screenshots of QR codes it requires to join a room. Has anyone else given this app a shot? Let's hear your thoughts.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
10/26/2014 | 5:09:18 PM
Re: Nice
@Hammy Of those three examples, I still think Paper is the best one put out by Facebook thus far.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2014 | 3:13:40 PM
Re: Same old
I think the reality is much worse than they are advertising.  Your information is never deleted, others can see what you post, and Facebook can use whatever you posted however they want to.  The old chat room seems much better to me.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2014 | 12:33:29 PM
Re: Nice
@Progman true. I think its basically try to convince people that what FB is doing is better than what  is already available in the market. I fail to understand the real essance of such forums where you can remain anonymous and share your thoughts. Are we not already having these sites as you already mentioned.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2014 | 12:27:43 PM
Re: Same old
@Paul681 very true and very concisely put. It basically means that old habbit die hard and FB manipulating the info and convincing the public with lame excuses. I believe that the public is getting the sense of it and are now more aware than few years back  :).
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