Facebook introduces Messenger Rooms for Virtual Hangouts with up to 50 people

Facebook is always introducing new features to expand its services in this new era of video chatting. Messenger Rooms, which is Facebook’s latest tool for conducting virtual hangouts, allows calls with up to 50 people at once.

The company has always worked on products which help connect people around the world. As the pandemic continues to grow, major tech giants are taking all necessary steps to ensure that people stay connected.

Facebook’s Messenger Rooms Allow Video Calls with 50 People

Between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, over 700 million users are calling via the company’s platforms every day. Video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp has doubled in numbers, compared to just a few months ago. Views on Facebook and Instagram Live videos have also increased significantly in March and April.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Messenger Rooms in a live video stream earlier this week. Zuckerburg stated that the new video features are built with the focus of creating private messaging tools.

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Source: Facebook

“Video presence isn’t a new area for us. But it’s an area that we want to go deeper in, and it fits the overall theme, which is that we’re shifting more resources in the company to focus on private communication and private social platforms, rather than just the traditional broader ones. So this is a good mix: we’re building tools into Facebook and Instagram that are helping people find smaller groups of people to go and have more intimate connections with, and be able to have private sessions with.”

Messenger Rooms’ privacy and security protections includes features to prevent unwanted and devious attendees in the virtual room.

  • Hosts control who sees their rooms and can lock the room when all participants have joined. Anyone with a link can join a room till it is unlocked.
  • The room creators have to be present for the call to start, and they can control who can join, or remove any unwanted participants.

If you join a Room through the Messenger app, then you can apply AR effects and new features like immersive backgrounds and mood lighting to make the experience enjoyable.

For now, Rooms meetings are not end-to-end encrypted, because “there are significant challenges” to providing such encryption for video calling with large groups of people. Furthermore, Room content is encrypted between participants and the Facebook servers, only in a handful of countries with a strict law. The company also promises that it doesn’t watch or listen to your audio or video calls. However, Facebook says it is actively working on implementing end-to-end encryption in the future.

How to create a Facebook Messenger Room

Messenger Rooms are simple to use. You can create one and get to it as soon as the feature is available in your area. Here’s a quick guide on how you can use Messenger Rooms:

  • Open the Messenger App.
  • Tap the People Tab at the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Tap Create a Room.
  • Select the people you want to add in your room.
  • To share your room with people who do not have a Facebook account, you can share the link with them. Facebook also lets you share the link on your News Feed, Facebook Groups and Event pages.

    messenger rooms 3
    Source: Facebook

According to Facebook, Rooms can be joined directly via smartphone and PC, without downloading a supporting app. The company also plans to introduce Rooms in Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal. 

Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week and is expanding to the rest of the world in the upcoming weeks. The company is also working on updating all of its major platforms. According to the latest press release, WhatsApp will increase its limit for group calls up to 8 people and Instagram Live and IGTV have also been updated recently for better user experience.

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