Facebook is testing a feature called “Host Chat” that lets people set up chat rooms their friends can join without an invitation.
Similar to the old chat rooms on AOL and Google Hang Outs, the chat rooms could get Facebook users to meet friends of friends and spend more time on the site.
Following the leak, Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it is 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.”
Chat rooms could be an important bonus for Facebook advertisers as users of direct private communication on Facebook typically pop in and out just to send and read messages.
In comparison, people often keep chat rooms open for long periods of time, which works well with Facebook’s strategy of driving high amounts of time-on-site.
Facebook users might browse the news feed or friends’ profiles for longer and see more ads to fill time while they gab in chat rooms.