In May this year, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced the proposed launch of a new feature to allow users to better adapt to the times and needs for video communication. Zuckerberg noted in his Livestream that video presence has become incredibly important during these strange times to stay connected, predominantly for professionals, but are seeing an immensely growing number of users jump on for general socialization. And thus, the announcement of Messenger Rooms.
To compete with Zoom during these times, Facebook has launched Messenger Rooms, a platform integrated within its native host, Messenger, where you can organize video chats ahead of time. Simply said, you can create a room, invite people you wish to join and hang out!
Facebook has installed a tray of rooms at the top of the Facebook feed in which you can drop into rooms your friends are hosting. You can also create a private room through link sharing, to prevent problematic people from joining your room. Zuckerberg also noted in this feature that they are working on refining this feature to be able to show your room on those people’s feed who you interact most with, a function that would be highly suited to businesses if this feature is allowed for businesses as well as personal.
At the time of writing this post, Messenger Rooms supported 50 members. Messenger Rooms can prove beneficial to non-tech savvy people, especially elderly folks. It removes the inconvenience of creating an account or having to download anything. But the best news is that anyone can join a Messenger Room — you don’t need a Facebook or Instagram profile to use the tool. Think how wide you can cast your community net!
Amongst other options within this feature, the privacy features are of the highest standard. There will also be the ability to schedule rooms and have people notified prior to the commencement of the room. Messenger rooms will also be well integrated with Facebook Events as there is immense growth in the number of online events happening now. It also features a screen sharing option- perfect for sharing slides, information and screens when using it for business purposes.
Messenger Rooms can be accessed from the Facebook newsfeed on desktop, through the Messenger mobile app, and with Instagram. Facebook is rolling out Messenger Rooms globally so if you want to host a Room, start by updating your Facebook and Messenger apps on mobile.
How to Use Messengers Rooms:
Open the Messenger app
Tap the “People” tab
Tap “Create a Room.”
To invite others, tap “Share link” and select the contacts you want to share the Room link with. You can also specify if you want anyone with the link to be able to join your room—no Facebook account required—or whether you’d like to limit your room to Facebook users only.
Open Messenger on via Facebook’s site (or messenger.com)
Click the “Start New Room” camera icon at the top of the left-hand menu.
A new window will pop up. Click “Continue as [you]” to start a room.
To invite others, copy, paste, and send the URL at the top of the Room window to anyone you want to invite.
How to join a Room in Messenger
Joining a room is the same in the mobile app or on desktop. Simply tap or click the invite link to open the room, then click “Join as [username].” (You can only be in one Messenger Room at a time.) Rooms are invite-only, but remember that anyone can join a room as long as they have the link—you can’t limit rooms to a subset of your friends (or any specific friend lists).
Messenger’s Room controls are simple to navigate once you’re in. The on-screen buttons include:
Mic mute on/off
Swap to all-participants view
A red “Hang Up” bubble. Desktop users can also close the browser window to end the call if they want.
If you’re the host of a messenger room, you can tap the participant's icon on the app or desktop versions of your chat to lock the room—preventing anyone else from joining if they happen to have access to your link. You can also end the chat at any point and boot everyone out of your room.
On the desktop version of Messenger Rooms, there’s also a settings menu that offers few audio/video options to mess with if you need to fix your mic or camera, as well as a button that enables screen-sharing mode (absent on the app-based version). On the app-based messenger rooms, meanwhile, you can tap a button in the lower-left corner to take a quick picture of your room.
With many of us have been working and socialising remotely, Messenger Rooms provides yet another way to connect with each other via our phones and computers—but without some of the excess, you’ll find in other video conferencing apps.