Alarmed at the popularity of Zoom in social distancing times that allows up to 100 people to join a video meeting from the comfort of their homes, Facebook announced of Messenger Rooms that will allow group video calls of up to 50 people. In Facebook Messenger Rooms, the users can post links in their News Feed or in Groups or event pages.
When a room is created, anyone can join via their browser, though hosts can opt to “lock” rooms to new guests to prevent party crashers. “We’re rolling out a new product called Messenger Rooms, the first video chat designed with social interactions in mind,” shared FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.
“The ability to feel like you are directly connected with someone live over video” is essential to maintaining that togetherness, Zuckerberg later said during a broadcast on Facebook Live.
Messenger Rooms will have Zoom like “immersive 360-degree backgrounds that transport you to beautiful and iconic spaces, from the beach to a luxe apartment on the water.” It will have “14 new camera filters that offer ambient lighting to brighten your space and your face.” According to the company, over 700 million people are making calls on Messenger and WhatsApp daily.
Marred by privacy and security issues, Zoom has surpassed 300 million daily users globally, a 50 per cent increase over the 200 million users it had last month and significantly more than the 10 million members it had at the end of 2019. The video meeting platform has seen a spike in users since the Covid-19 pandemic as millions have been forced to work from home.
Here’s how to use Facebook Messenger Rooms
Update your Facebook Messenger app to make sure you’re on the latest version to access the new feature.
Then go into the app and on the Chats page, there will be a new “Create Room” button. Click on this.
Then you can set the activity for the room, such as studying, the privacy settings of who can discover it, and a time for it to start later if you need.
Once you’ve set these features, you will then go to the Invite page to click on who can attend.
This will then send an invite to everyone to join in.
Once you’ve carried out a Rooms chat, it will saw to your Chats page so you can easily bring the same people together again.
The Messenger Rooms feature will begin rolling out in some countries this week, and the rest of the world in the coming weeks, including the US.
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