Facebook launched it’s new group video chat feature called Messenger Rooms in April 2020. Now widely available, it has been created as an alternative to current conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. As more and more people and companies are now turning toward video chat since the coronavirus outbreak due to quarantine and travel restrictions, Facebook saw their opportunity to become an alternative video app to the current conference apps out there.
What is Messenger Rooms?
Messenger Rooms is a video call service which allows you and up to 49 others to join a group video call which Facebook has called a ‘room’. You can set up a room from either Messenger, Facebook, Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, or Portal, and you can have the call to all or simply lock it to stop any uninvited guests from joining in. You can even remove participants as well.
While in your room, you can use Facebook’s reality filters and change your background to a virtual one. Facebook has also included 360-degree views of exotic locations for backgrounds and is now currently working on beauty filters as well as filters designed to brighten up a dark room.
How To Create Your ‘Room’
It’s as easy as 1,2,3. You can simply create a video chat room via Facebook or by using the Messenger app and can invite up to 50 people to join in as we mentioned before, on a video call. Here’s the rub, even if someone doesn’t have a Facebook account, they can still join the chat and there is no time limit set on calls., so you can chat 24 hours a day if it takes your fancy.
The steps you need to take to create your ‘room’
1. Open the Messenger mobile app.
2. Tap the People tab at the bottom of the screen.
3. Tap Create a Room.
4. Select the people who you want to join.
5. You can also share the room in your News Feed, Groups, and Events.
6. To share a Room with people who don’t have Facebook, you can simply share a link with them.
You can join a chatroom from your phone or your computer and there is no downloading required With more and more people looking for an alternative to Zoom which faced security and privacy issues recently, Messenger Rooms came on the scene at the right time.
One of the best features with Facebook Messenger Rooms’ is that is very simple to start a video conference call with multiple Facebook friends at once.
How to change privacy settings for Facebook Messenger Rooms
Just like with Zoom, there are multiple ways of ensuring privacy and safety of calls that are made using Facebook Messenger Rooms. Messenger Rooms won’t allow a call to begin until the host of the call is present. The call host as we mentioned above can also remove anyone form the call at any given time.
Here are some more privacy measures on Facebook Messenger Rooms
Locking: The call admins can lock or unlock a room once the call begins. If the room is locked, no one else can join, except for the admin.
Removing a call participant: You can remove any participants by simply tapping the “Remove” button which can be found next to their name.
Reporting: You can report a room name or submit feedback about a room if you think that it violates any of Facebook’s community standards.
Blocking: As with your Facebook profile you can block anyone on Facebook or Messenger. When someone you have blocked is logged into Facebook or Messenger, they won’t be able to join any room that you are in and visa versa.
If you are hosting a video call and waiting for people to join, there is also a rather cool option to leave the room until others invited on the call eventually join in. You can simply access the option by pressing the X icon which can be found in the top left corner of the call screen. Here you can also choose to leave and then come back later or just simply end the call.
Zoom vs Facebook Rooms
Whilst Facebook Messenger Rooms is aimed for personal use and Zoom more for conference and business calls they both are video chat applications and as we’re at it we decided to do a little comparison for you below
Facebook Messenger Rooms is free whilst Zoom does have a free service, it also has a premium subscription offering better features and less restrictions.
Facebook Messenger Room ,can allow up to 50 people to join a room whilst Zoom allows up to 100 people on a call whether they are using the free or the premium version. That said the premium version on Zoom can support up to 500 people as long as you have the appropriate add ons.
Zoom has a time limit of 40 minutes for conversations for those who use the free version and a 24 hour call session for those who are using the premium version. Compared to Facebook Messenger Rooms that has no time constraints.
Zoom does need you to download a separate app which can be annoying. Compared to Facebook Messenger Rooms that is already built into the Facebook Messenger app so no add on app required and it also allows those non Facebookers to join the call.
Zoom and Facebook Messenger Rooms both allow users to block other users, create a private room, and you are able to use other basic security features if need does arise.
Both Zoom and Facebook Messenger Rooms do collect technical information from the participants.
With Zoom you can save and record a meeting, whilst with Facebook Messenger Rooms you currently can’t.
Zoom allows you to upload custom backgrounds. Facebook Messenger Rooms currently does not have this option but it does have preset options available for your background pleasure
Both Zoom and Facebook Messenger Rooms allow users to text during the video call and to share screens with others