Facebook Messenger Rooms: What you need to know

If choosing software to make video calls wasn’t confusing enough, there’s a new kid on the block – Facebook Messenger Rooms.

The social networking giant says the idea behind the update to its Messenger software is to make videoconferencing easier.

“Spending time with each other should be spontaneous, not strained,” it said.

“So to help people feel like they’re together, even when they are — or have to be — physically apart, we’re announcing features across our products that make video chat and live video easier and more natural.”

How to make a call in Messenger Rooms

You can invite anyone to join your video call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Rooms will soon hold up to 50 people with no time limit.

How to make a call in Messenger Rooms

  1. Open the Messenger app

    If you don’t already have it, you’ll need to download the Messenger app. There are instructions for iOS (if you have an iPhone or iPad) and Android (most other phones) here.

  2. Tap the People tab at the bottom right of the screen. 

  3. Tap Create a Room, and select the people who you want to join

    You can invite people who don’t have a Facebook account – just share the link with them. You can also share the room in your News Feed, Groups and Events if you’d like. 

Facebook says it will soon add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal, too.

How secure is Facebook Messenger Rooms?

Zoom has faced a number of security and privacy issues in the past two months. Facebook itself has also been the focus of several huge privacy scandals in recent months and years, so is Messenger Rooms secure?

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said in a livestream the company has been “very careful” and tried to “learn the lessons” from issues with other video conference tools in recent months. 

The number of people using Facebook products is astonishing.

More than 700 million accounts participate in voice and video calls every day on Facebook Messenger and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, and the number of calls has more than doubled in many areas since the coronavirus outbreak began, the company said.

When you create a Facebook Messenger room, you choose who can see and join it. You can remove people from the call and lock a room if you don’t want anyone else to enter.

Facebook has more on the privacy features in Room here, and has made an infographic explaining it all here

“Regardless of whether you use Rooms through your Facebook account or join as a guest, we don’t watch or listen to your audio or video calls,” Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, Policy, of Facebook said.

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