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May 2, 2020

Facebook knocked over Zoom, introduced Messenger Rooms

By Nirdesh Pokharel

Facebook is introducing new Messenger Rooms that can host groups of people on video – including those who do not have an account.

The service is rolled out from today, besides a host of expanded live video-focused features across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, in an apparent attempt to take on the abrupt popularity of Zoom.

Recently, Zoom crossed a huge milestone as the application has surpassed 300 million daily Zoom meeting participants despite security backlash.

Rooms will soon hold up to 50 people with no time limit. Soon we will be seeing ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Portal, too. Though the person who will host should have a Facebook account to do so.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook posted, “More than 700 million daily actives use WhatsApp and Messenger for calling. In many countries, calling has doubled since the Covid-19 outbreak began. To help you stay connected with your whole family and groups of friends, we’re doubling the number of people who can participate in a group video call from 4 to 8 on WhatsApp. We’re also launching AI-powered effects like 360 virtual backgrounds on Messenger, virtual dates on Facebook Dating, and expanding Messenger Kids to more than 70 countries and territories.”

If your friends or communities create rooms that are open to you, you’ll see them on Facebook so you can find things to do and people to hang out with. When you’re invited to a room, you can join from your phone or computer — no need to download anything to get started. If you have the Messenger app, you can play with AR effects like bunny ears, and new AI-powered features like immersive 360 backgrounds and mood lighting.

When you create a 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. Read more about the controls you have and how we built Rooms with privacy and security in mind.

What choices and controls do I have?

The person who creates the room controls the settings for who can join, how easy a room is to find, and whether to enable or share a link. The default privacy settings were designed to be consistent with what you’d expect for where you create a room. For example, the rooms you create through a Facebook Group are open by default to members of that Group.

  • Locking: Rooms can be locked or unlocked once a call begins. If a room is locked, no one else can join, except a Group admin for rooms created through a Group. 
  • Removing a participant: The room creator can remove any unwanted participants. If the room creator removes someone from the call or leaves, the room will lock automatically and the room creator must unlock the call for others to join. 
  • Leaving: If at any point you feel unsafe in a room, you can leave. Just because a room is locked doesn’t mean you have to stay. 
  • Reporting: You can report a room name or submit feedback about a room if you believe it violated our Community Standards. But since we don’t watch or listen to your audio or video calls, it’s important to know that reports and feedback will not include audio or video from the room.
  • Blocking: You can block someone on Facebook or Messenger who may be bothering you and we won’t inform them. When someone you’ve blocked is logged into Facebook or Messenger, they won’t be able to join a room you’re in and you won’t be able to join theirs.