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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

What exactly is Meow Chat and why is it all over your Facebook?

And when will it go away?

IN THE LAST few days you may have been inundated with Facebook notifications inviting you to join Meow Chat.

No, it’s not a social network for cats and no, it’s not the next Candy Crush either. It’s a strange, newly popular messaging app that involves all sorts of randomness. And a big orange animated cat, of course.

So what is it?

Meow Chat was originally called ‘Meow’, and was an ordinary instant messaging app very similar to WhatsApp or Viber.

It’s the brainchild of New York app developers Minus, and although it has been on the scene for around a year now, a recent relaunch with the addition of lots of new features has made its popularity soar. It can be loosely described as a hybrid of WhatsApp, Tinder, and Chat Roulette.

How does it work?

There are three ways to use the app. First, good old one-on-one messaging with your friends. You can share text, images or audio.

Second is a match making system that pairs you up with strangers across the globe and allows you to browse nearby users. The app suggests people it thinks you may be compatible with.

The third element is where things get somewhat chaotic; random group chats with people from anywhere around the world.

Source: iTunes

Why all the invites?

Once the app is installed users are prompted to link their Meow Chat and Facebook accounts so Meow Chat can gain access to your friends list. If you don’t do it at the outset, you’ll be prompted to do so again (they really want to know who you’re friends with).

The reason you’re getting so many invites all of a sudden is because people are either curious to see what all the fuss about, or just really want to annoy you.

Should you download it?

If you want to annoy all your Facebook friends with yet another Meow Chat invite, then yes. If you would prefer them to stay as your real life friends, maybe not.

What do other people make of it?

Meow Chat claims to be the fastest growing social network, with more than one million monthly users. It currently holds the top spot on the free apps iTunes chart in the UK, Australia and a range of other European countries.

Reviews from people who have used it however say that the app is fun for the first few minutes, but once you try out the match making and group chat functions it quickly descends into madness that is borderline creepy. Much like Chat Roulette, there are equally as many weirdos as people who just want to see what all the fuss is about.

Mostly however, people are just annoyed at all the invitations:

When will it stop?

Soon. Possibly.

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