You probably use Facebook and Facebook Messenger on a daily basis, but you may not yet have tried its built-in Messenger Rooms feature. If you don’t know, Messenger Rooms are Facebook’s take on video-calling, and the feature is incredibly easy to use.
Ready to hop on a video call? Here’s how to get started using Facebook’s Messenger Rooms.
What Are Facebook’s Messenger Rooms?
Facebook introduced Messenger Rooms as a way to compete with video-calling apps like Zoom and Skype. With Messenger Rooms, you can create a video call with up to 50 people at a time. This makes it perfect for meetings, online classes, or hangout sessions with friends and family.
When you create a room, you can send an invite to anyone. It doesn’t matter if your invite goes to someone who doesn’t have a Facebook account—they can simply click a link and be a part of the call without creating an account. Better yet, they don’t even have to download an extra app.
Just keep in mind that any user without a Facebook account can only join the call if the room’s host is already present.
How to Use Messenger Rooms
Although Messenger Rooms has “Messenger” attached to it, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to creating rooms with Messenger. Not only can you create a room through the Messenger app, but you can also do so on Facebook’s desktop site.
How to Create Messenger Rooms on the Messenger App
It’s easy to create a room through the Facebook Messenger app. To get started, open Messenger, and tap Create Room underneath the search bar.
On the next screen, you’ll see a few settings that you can modify. The Room activity option allows you to assign a label to the room.
This lets your friends or family know what you’ll be doing in the call. You can choose from default activities, such as karaoke, coffee chat, and birthday party, or you can create your own.
You can also adjust the privacy of the call by selecting Who can discover and join? This essentially lets you choose whether you want Facebook friends only on your call, or if you’d like the option to invite non-Facebook users with a link.
To hold the call later in the day, toggle on Schedule for later. A calendar will pop up on your screen, and you can pick a later date and time from there.
After adjusting those settings, select Create Room at the bottom of the screen. If you’ve chosen the privacy option that lets you invite others with a link, you’ll see the link to your room at the top of the screen.
Messenger will also display a list of Facebook friends who you can invite to your room. Click Invite next to their names if you’d like to add them to your room.
When you’re done inviting, select Join Room. Facebook will ask you to confirm the account you’d like to use, and if you’re ready, hit the Join As button to start chatting.
How to Create Messenger Rooms on the Facebook Site
Creating a Messenger Room from Facebook’s desktop site is pretty straightforward as well. Once you navigate to Facebook’s homepage, find the “Contacts” column on the right side of your screen.
Next to the Contacts heading, you’ll see a tiny camera icon with a plus sign in it. Click that icon to create a new room, and a popup will appear on your screen. This popup will ask you if want to use your current account in the call, or if you want to switch accounts.
To use your current account, click the Continue as button. Otherwise, hit Switch Accounts to change it.
Once you decide on your account, Facebook will launch you into your room, so make sure you’re ready to look good on a webcam. Your video will appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen, while the other participants will take up the rest of the page.
You’ll notice several buttons at the bottom of the screen as well. These buttons let you share your screen, see a list of participants, turn your camera and mic on or off, as well as end the call.
Facebook will also provide you with a link to your room. When you’re ready, you’ll have to copy, paste, and send the provided link to the people you want to invite.
If you don’t want anyone else to join your room during a call, you can prevent them from hopping in. To do this, click the See Participants icon at the bottom of the call. Toggle on Lock Room to stop more people from joining.
How to Create a Messenger Room From a Group Page
In case you want to create a room for a specific group of friends, you can do so by creating a room within a Facebook Group. First, head to the Group that you want to create the room in.
After that, click Room underneath the status bar. You can then assign an activity label to the group, as well as schedule a start time.
Only people who are members of that specific Group will be able to join your room. But if you’d like to invite others, you can always send them the provided link to your room.
When you’re happy with your room settings, select Next at the bottom of the popup, and you can proceed to enter your room.
Are Messenger Rooms Safe?
Messenger Rooms’ biggest competitor, Zoom, has been criticized for its security flaws. Which is why you should take extra steps to secure your Zoom chat.
So, you’re probably wondering if Messenger Rooms pose the same threat. According to a blog post on About Facebook, the tech giant has taken several measures to secure Messenger Rooms.
Not only does the host of a room have the power to lock calls, but they can also remove unwanted guests. Also on the blog post, Facebook says that it doesn’t “watch or listen to your audio or video calls.”
Additionally, Facebook notes that it collaborated with its security team to create links for rooms that are hard for hackers to guess. This helps prevents hackers from crashing your video calls.
While this is all well and good, you should also know that Facebook collects user data when you join a room. Even though Facebook says that the data is only used to “provide the service and improve the product experience,” some users might find that off-putting.
Not to mention that it’s also a bit disconcerting to know that Messenger Rooms aren’t end-to-end encrypted. Without end-to-end encryption, unwanted eavesdroppers can potentially listen to your call.
Getting to Know Facebook Messenger Rooms
As you start using Facebook’s Messenger Rooms, you’ll quickly get accustomed to the user-friendly tools and settings that Messenger Rooms have to offer.
But if you don’t feel comfortable using Messenger Rooms due to its association with Facebook, there are a ton of alternative video calling apps that you can try instead.
There are many free video calling apps for both desktop and mobile. See if these video chat software meet your requirements.
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