How to Use Facebook’s Messenger Rooms

With Facebook's Zoom alternative, you can now chat with 50 people at once, with no time limit.

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Facebook has recently launched its new group video chat feature, Messenger Rooms, allowing up to 50 people to chat at the same time. Much to our surprise, there’s no limit to how long a user can be in a Messenger Room chat. Plus, anyone can join the Room, even if they don’t have an FB account.
It seems like Messenger Rooms is Facebook’s version of the ever-so-popular Zoom app, given it borrows so many useful video chatting features from the following service. For example, you get the option to use changeable backgrounds, apply camera filters, face effects, and share your screen like in Zoom.
However, one of the current drawbacks of Rooms is that the video calls are not end-to-end encrypted, something that even WhatsApp offers. When you create a Room, anyone in your Facebook friend list can join it; unless you change your privacy preferences. Also, the process for creating a Messenger Room is somewhat convoluted.
We have prepared this guide for those interested in giving Facebook’s Messenger Rooms a try. You will find detailed instructions on how to make a Room and also join one.

Create Messenger Rooms on the Messenger app

Creating a Room on the Messenger app takes only a few steps to go through. Here’s what the Room creation process looks like:

  1. First, launch the Messenger app on your device.
  2. Tap the pencil icon on the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Next, tap Edit under the Room link and select whether Anyone with the link or Only people you approve can join.
    Note: When creating a Messenger Room, Facebook allows users to create an open link anyone can access, including those who don’t have a Facebook account.
  4. After going through the Room settings, tap Share next to the generated link and send it to your preferred people via Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, email, or any other platform.

Once you go live, people with the shared link can join your chat room. Note that your name and profile photo will be visible to the participants, whether you are friends with them on Facebook or not.
Participants can also join a Room from the web browser on their mobile or computer even when they don’t have the Messenger or Facebook app installed. No need to download anything.

Create Messenger Rooms on the Facebook app

There are two possible ways to start a Messenger Room on the Facebook app, which we have discussed in detail below. It’s worth noting that the video chat options are basically the same as Messenger, minus a couple of settings. For example, the link-sharing options are similar to how it’s on the Messenger app, and you get to select which participants are allowed to join your Room.
Having said that, the Facebook app allows you to schedule when the Room goes live via the “Start Time” setting, unlike in Messenger. It’s a handy feature for those hosting a webinar or some other live event using the service.
Now that you know the similarities and differences, the following instructions will show you how to create a Messenger Room on the Facebook app.

Create Messenger Rooms via News Feed

  1. First, open the Facebook app and visit your News Feed.
  2. Scroll down to the “Rooms” section below your status bar and tap the Create Room option.
  3. Now rename the room and add a start time if you want to, then tap Next or Create Room again.
  4. After that, tap Edit under the generated room link to select whether Only people you approve or Anyone with the link can join.
  5. Share the room link with the people you want to join the video chat. Alternatively, you can choose to invite people directly from your FB friend list.
  6. Finally, tap Join Room when you are ready to start the video chat session.

Create Messenger Rooms in a Facebook Group

  1. Open the Facebook app and head over to your Groups page.
  2. Select the group where you wish to host a Messenger Room, then tap the Rooms button.
  3. Next, tap Create Room and adjust the room settings to your preference (e.g., changing the Room name and adding a start time).
  4. Depending on what you want, tap the Create Room or Schedule for Later option.
  5. Now choose to Notify Members of the group or share the link with the participants you want in the Room.
  6. At last, tap the Join Room button to start chatting.

When you want to end the Room session, click or tap the cogwheel or X icon at the top-right corner and then the End Room option.

Use Messenger Rooms on your computer

If you plan to use Messenger Rooms on your desktop or laptop, simply download the Messenger Desktop app. It’s available on both Windows and macOS. Click here to visit the official download page.
The desktop version of Messenger lets you create Rooms the same way as the Android/iOS mobile app. You can also view many participants at once now that you have a larger screen to work with. On top of that, sharing your screen with other participants in Rooms is also possible.
However, additional features like virtual backgrounds, filters, and face effects are missing from the desktop version of Messenger. The Call scheduling option is also unavailable, unlike the mobile app.

Additional privacy options in Messenger Rooms

Similar to Zoom, Meet, Teams, and other popular video conferencing services, Facebook’s Messenger Rooms has privacy protections in place to ensure the safety of calls made using the service.
Room creators or administrators have the authority to remove participants at any time. Here are all the safety and privacy options you should be aware of when using Messenger Rooms:

  • Removing a participant: To remove individuals from a Room, all you have to do is tap Remove next to their names.
  • Locking a Room: Admins can lock or unlock their Room after it goes live. When a Room is locked, no one else can join except for the admins.
  • Blocking: People you have blocked on Messenger or Facebook won’t be able to join your Room, and you won’t be able to join theirs.
  • Reporting: If a Room’s name violates Facebook’s community guidelines, you can report it or submit feedback.

Bear in mind that the Room goes live only when the creator is present. If you are hosting a Room and waiting for participants to join, you can Leave the Room till others show up. Simply tap the X icon on the top-right corner of the call overlay to access the option. You will be notified when someone joins your Room.

Wrapping up

Video calling services have been a massive surge in popularity, especially during these times of crisis. Facebook has been clearly observing the market for a while now, bringing Messenger Rooms at a time when millions need them most.
Given the colossal userbase across their various services and global availability, it’s a no-brainer for the company to compete with video conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Besides a few shortcomings, Messenger Rooms has the potential to become a key player in the space.
If you find this guide helpful, be sure to share it with your family and friends. For more latest “How to” articles like this, consider following us on Google News as well.

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