With a surge in video conferencing during the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook introduces Messenger Rooms to take on services like Zoom and Houseparty. Facebook says that more than 700 million people participate in calls every day on WhatsApp and Messenger combined. The company noticed that the video calling on WhatsApp and Messenger doubled and views on Facebook Live and Instagram Live increased significantly.
Facebook saw an opportunity and realized that people are trying to connect with more and more people on a video call. They came up with a solution on a platform that people are already familiar with and have been using for quite a while.
In an interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg said the new video features were built in line with the company’s shift toward creating more private messaging tools.
“Video presence isn’t a new area for us,” he said. “But it’s an area that we want to go deeper in, and it fits the overall theme, which is that we’re shifting more resources in the company to focus on private communication and private social platforms, rather than just the traditional broader ones. So this is a good mix: we’re building tools into Facebook and Instagram that are helping people find smaller groups of people to then go have more intimate connections with, and be able to have private sessions with.”
Messenger Rooms will allow up to 50 people to join a video call with no time limit. It allows you to spend quality time with friends, loved ones, and even people with the same interest. Inviting people is easy, you can create a room from your Messenger or Facebook and share it in News Feed, Groups, or Events. Soon you will be able to create rooms from Instagram Direct and WhatsApp too.
Privacy in Messenger Rooms
We are aware of the backlash faced by Zoom due to security issues, data leak, and Zoombombing. Facebook says Messenger Rooms are built keeping privacy and security in mind. The default privacy settings are in line with existing settings. For example, a room created through a Facebook Group is open for all its members by default. Let us check out some of the controls it offers.
- Locking: Rooms can be locked or unlocked to stop unauthorized access. Only a Group admin will be able to join in a locked room if a group is created through a Group.
- Removing a Participant: The Host can remove any unwanted participants. The removed participant can not join until permitted by the Host.
- Leaving: You can leave the room as per your convenience, even if the room is locked.
- Reporting: You can report a room name if you believe it is violating the Community Standards. But no Audio or Video from the Group can be included in the Feedback.
- Blocking: If you block someone they will not be able to join your room and vice-versa.
Well, that sounds pretty secure. Right?
“A lot of the time that I’ve spent on this over the last few weeks as we’ve been building this out and getting ready to ship has been on privacy, security, integrity reviews, and how do we make sure that a lot of the use cases that have been problematic around Zoom are not going to be things that are replicated here,” Zuckerberg added.
Facebook says that they do not listen to your audio or video calls. But there is no End-to-End encryption like WhatsApp. Even if you enter a room with people who are not your friend, they will not be able to access your information other than the one which is available generally.
There are already some AR effects built-in the Messenger like weird faces, Specs, etc. and AI-powered features like 360 immersive backgrounds and mood lighting.
Facebook is looking to bring a lot of new features to its live broadcasts. Soon Instagram will begin allowing users to post live streams to IGTV as well as Instagram stories.
Facebook Messenger Rooms is rolling in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in the coming weeks. The company plans to bring Rooms to Instagram and WhatsApp as well.
You can add up to 50 participants at a time.
There is no time limitation in Messenger Room.
You can share the Room in News Feed, Groups fro anyone to join or you can add specific person from your friend list to start a video call with them.
I like the whole idea of a video call via Facebook or Messenger as we are already using it. Moreover, the security features mentioned by Facebook looks promising. Although, we will have to wait to test it out in real-time.
Tell us what do you think about Messenger Rooms in the comments below.