What are Facebook Messenger Rooms and How to Use Them
During the lockdown, there’s a good chance that you’ve used Zoom for keeping in touch with friends, family (and work colleagues or clients if you’ve been working from home). However, you may also have heard about the security issues that were plaguing this platform. So, you might be happy to learn that Facebook decided to launch its own Facebook Messenger Rooms – a video conferencing feature that could compete with Zoom.
This new feature was not available everywhere at first as it was being tested in the US and a few other countries before its release around the world. On 14th May, Facebook announced that it was ready to be used by everyone. Have you seen it in yet?
Here is an overview of what you get with it…
Whilst it’s an extension of Facebook Messenger, you don’t actually need a Facebook account to use this video calling platform. You can join calls direct from your phone, tablet or computer.
However, you might need the app to create the room, which is quite simple, really:
- Go to the Facebook Messenger app.
- On the bottom right of the screen, you will find the ‘People’ tab. Tap on it.
- Tap on the ‘Create a room’ tab and add the people you want in the chat.
- Share the link to the room with people who don’t have a Facebook account and can’t be added through the app.
You, as the moderator, can make a room as private or public as you want. Like Facebook Groups, you can have secret rooms where people can only join if they have specifically been invited or given the link, or public rooms, where you share the room on your newsfeed or create an Events page and anyone can join.
Group Video Calls for Up To 50 People
While Zoom allows 100 people on a call on a free account, and up to 500 with a ‘large meeting’ meeting, Facebook Messenger Rooms only allows 50 people. However, this is usually more than enough.
No Time Limit
On a free Zoom account, you can have a video call of 40 minutes before it disconnects and you have to join all over again, whilst paid options give you longer. On Facebook Messenger Rooms, there’s no time limit, so you can have an uninterrupted conversation. In fact, you can drop in or out of a room while the call is on.
Like Zoom, a Facebook Messenger Room is not end-to-end encrypted, but the company is quick to assure us that they will not be listening in or viewing calls. Also, the creator of the group will have complete control over who can join or stay in the call. They can kick out participants at any point.
Report Illicit Activities
You can report illicit behaviour in a Facebook Messenger Room to Facebook. Combined with the control that the moderators have over unwanted participants, Facebook thinks this will make it less likely for unwanted intruders to disturb the privacy of the room.
Backdrops and AR filters
While you’re in the call, you can swap out your environment with 360° exotic backdrop. So, you’re stuck at home… you can always pretend you’re somewhere else on the call! While you’re at it, you can also make use of AR camera filters to change the lighting and brightness of your face.
So, these are some of the features you will get with Facebook Messenger Rooms. What do you think of them? Do you think you’ll be using it instead of Zoom or even WhatsApp? Let us know in the comments!