Facebook is rolling out Messenger Rooms, a new video conferencing tool that resembles Zoom. The feature will allow up to 50 people to participate in a video chat through a link. Facebook says participants do not need to be Facebook users to access the feature. The announcement of ‘Messenger Rooms’ comes at a time when the popularity of Zoom has surged in recent weeks, as millions of people are relying on a video conferencing app during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook’s Messenger Rooms, the Zoom-like video chat feature.
What are Messenger Rooms?
Facebook clearly does not want to concede the video conferencing space to Zoom. Facebook’s Messenger Rooms is a new feature that stays within its Messenger Service.
Similar to Zoom and many other video chat apps, Messenger Rooms allows multiple users to video chat at the same time. In fact, Rooms allows up to 50 people to video chat at a time. In comparison, Zoom offers free video conferencing for up to 100 participants. Unlike Zoom, which has a 40-minute time limit on free calls, Messenger Zoom has no time limit.
The big highlight of the Messenger Room is that anyone with a Facebook account can create a video meeting and invite their friends to join, even if those people do not have a Facebook account. This is the same convenience that made Zoom one of the most popular video chat apps in the world with 300 million users now.
Facebook says Rooms will come to Instagram, WhatsApp and the Facebook Portal smart speaker, though the exact timeline of launch has not been announced.
How to use Messenger Rooms?
It is easy to create and share Rooms on Facebook through the news feed, groups, or events. All you need to do is create a Room by clicking on a video icon on Facebook Messenger. You can join video calls through a phone or computer.
What about privacy?
Facebook says it has added a number of privacy features to secure Rooms. The person who creates a room has the authority to let people join, and must be present in order to initiate a call. The room creator can remove guests, and the room automatically locks for that person when he or she leaves. If your colleagues or friends create a room that is open for you, you will see them at the top of your news feed. The room can be limited to the members of the group, or else anyone with the link can be allowed in. You can control who sees the room. And those who have been previously blocked on Facebook won’t be able to see the feature or join in. People can report a group video chat for violating Facebook’s rules. Facebook says it does not view or listen to calls.
What’s the difference between Messenger Rooms and regular video calling on Facebook?
There are several differences between Messenger Rooms and regular calling on Facebook.
- You do not need a Facebook account a video call created in Messenger Rooms.
- You can lock a room once everyone has joined in so that no one else can join.
- Only the person who created a room can grant permission to let someone join the video call.
- If you’ve blocked someone on Facebook or Messenger, they won’t be able to join a call.
Are video calls in Messenger Rooms secure?
Facebook clarified that room calls are not end-to-end encrypted.
When can I use Messenger Rooms?
Facebook said it will be rolling out Messenger Rooms in select countries this week. Other countries will get Rooms in the coming weeks.
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