Learn how to create Facebook Messenger Rooms, how to use messenger Rooms, how to make video calls with Facebook friends and how rooms work.
Facebook has recently launched a new group video chat function called Messenger Rooms, which expands the group chat features already included in Messenger and allows you to create a video chat room with Facebook friends, up to 50 people altogether (with grid view, similar to Zoom) without time limits.
Facebook Messenger Rooms can be seen as an alternative to Zoom or Google Meet, with the difference of not being oriented towards school video meetings or for companies, but rather to staying in contact with friends or family, permanently.
How Messenger Rooms Work
When it comes to chat rooms, you can imagine a bit as if you were inviting people to your home, sending invitations, and deciding who can enter and who cannot in the virtual room.
The door is always open for guests, at least until the creator of the virtual room decides to close it. It is a slightly different video chat system than normal video calling, which starts and ends when you hang up.
In this case, the room can remain open even if the creator leaves, without time limits, letting people enter and leave whenever they want. In the Chat Room, people can continue to interact, see each other and chat even if the creator is not online, provided that the creator has not deactivated it.
Messenger Rooms is a very powerful Facebook feature, so much so that you can use it not only from the Messenger application but also from the Facebook website (from PC) and from the normal Facebook app for Android and iPhone.
How to Access Facebook Messenger Room
- Launch the Messenger app.
- Click on the People tab at the bottom right of the screen.
- Click on Create a Room
- Select the people who you want to join the video chat room.
According to Facebook, you can join a messenger room without even having a Facebook account. All you need is to get the invite link to join a room.
How to Create a Messenger Room from a Facebook Site or App
To start using Messenger Rooms from a Facebook site or app, all you have to do is press the Chat button. In the main Facebook screen, you can see, at the top just below the “Create a post ” box and above the Stories, the list of rooms opened by friends and the button to create your own private room.
When you create the room, you can see an invitation link, which can be shared with the people you want to chat with.
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You can also define the activity of the room, which can be a chat, a birthday, a meeting, or something else (there are many options to select).
Who can access the Room allows you to choose whether Friends can see our Room created in their Facebook app and therefore access directly even without receiving the link of the invitation or whether to keep it private and hidden and invite friends selected individually.
Be careful, in the settings screen, because there is an option that allows anyone with the invitation link to access the Messenger Chat Room.
If the ” Allow sharing of the invitation link ” option is left on, friends can in turn invite other people to your room and anyone with the link can access it. Not only that, it is also possible to enter a video chat Rooms without having to be friends with the creator of the room and without a Facebook account, by logging in as a guest. In practice, everyone can access a Facebook Room even without logging into their account and appearing with any name.
At the end you can read a summary and start the room, leaving it open as much as you want. While waiting for other people to enter, you can also leave the room and wait for the notification from Facebook when someone logs in.
To protect the room and prevent anyone with the link from accessing freely, you can press the button to see the participants and use the padlock that blocks access.
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To end the room permanently, you need to press on the box of your room from the main Facebook screen and then, on End Room.
Beware that if you close the window of the room created and do not use the End button, the video room still remains active and people can still access it and video chat.
How to Create Messenger Rooms from Messenger App
You can also create a Messenger Rooms from the Messenger app on Android and iOS, from the www.messenger.com site, or even from the Facebook site, by pressing the message icon at the top right.
In this case, the creation process is a bit different: you have to press the button at the top of the video camera with the + above, which is next to the word Chat, next to that of the camera or pencil (on the app).
By opening a video chat room on Messenger, you enter immediately without any preliminary configuration screen. This can be explained by the fact that on Messenger it is possible to start a Facebook group video call without using the Rooms function (but it is something that can be deceiving).
After logging in, you can press the bottom button of the participants to see the link to share to invite other people to join the video room.
Always from the participant’s box, it is possible to end the call and then close the room to everyone or block it, so as to no longer allow anyone to access it.
By creating a room video in Messenger, all friends will be able to access it, and even unknown people or without accounts, if they have the room link, can enter freely. By blocking the room nobody can enter.
For the moment, the Messenger Room started by Facebook and the one started by Messenger, therefore, seem to have different behaviors and options which, I imagine, will be uniform soon to make the functionality of the group video chat more homogeneous (at the moment it seems rather difficult to control).
Differences Between Messenger Rooms on Smartphones and on PC
As with normal Messenger video calls, there are some differences when accessing the site from a PC and when using the app on Android or iPhone, or iPad.
Messenger Rooms video chat on PC allows you to share your screen. On Chrome, you can share the entire desktop, a window of an open program, or even a Chrome tab. But from a smartphone, this is not possible.
Conversely, Messenger Rooms from smartphones allow you to use special effects and games with video chat participants. Just touch the icon of the little man who laughs over his image to open the list of effects and of activities, which are nice games to play during the video call.
From a PC, you can press the gear button to configure the webcam, microphone, and speakers. However, special effects can also be used using the video call Facebook on PC, if you install the SnapCam program with many AR effects and fun transformations as explained in another article.
Note that the Messenger Rooms video call on smartphones only works if the Messenger app is installed. Also, pay attention to the fact that you can only participate in one video chat at a time on Facebook, so if you create your own room and leave it active, you cannot also enter other people’s rooms and vice versa, if you enter a room, you must first finish your room.
Security and Privacy
Facebook plans to add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Facebook Portal as well.
The problem with these Facebook Rooms is that they are quite confusing at the moment: The feature has been announced by Facebook as a ” privacy-focused social platform ” and it really seems like an absurd statement.
On the surface, Messenger Rooms looks very similar to its competitor Zoom; the service allows anyone with a Facebook account to create a room that others can join, having up to 50 simultaneous participants and a tiled view.
First of all, if you do not configure the room well, you can end up seeing yourself with unknown people too easily, especially if the Room is started by Messenger where the option to invite selected people does not appear.
Another problem is that Rooms does not have End to End encryption. Facebook Rooms is based on Messenger, so it uses the same technology to encrypt audio and video conversations between people.
Since the calls are not end-to-end encrypted on Messenger and since the calls pass through the Facebook servers, the company has the technical ability to access all the conversations and, if desired, also deliver them to the police if they are detected wrongdoing.
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Furthermore, even if Facebook promises not to watch the contents of calls and video calls, Rooms is also used for the collection of user data for advertising purposes.
Finally, it is true that rooms can be locked or unlocked and if a room is locked, no one else can participate, but it is also true that you cannot protect a room with a password, which would have been better. At present, we must first wait for the invited people to enter and then remember to lock the room (and if we forget, anyone can enter).
It should also be noted that Facebook Messenger Rooms is quite similar to Facebook live broadcasts, with the difference being that in the Rooms, everyone can be seen and chatted, while in Live only one person speaks live.
Video: How to Use Facebook Messenger Rooms
What do you think about this innovation? Do you think, it will be a big threat to Zoom?