As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit face-to-face association, socializing has been restricted to online communication, and connecting with friends, family, and colleagues through video calls has become the new normal. Video-calling platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and MS Teams have gained wide popularity, as people are using them to work from home, attend online classes, or simply just socialize!
In April 2020, Facebook entered the competition with its latest videoconferencing feature, Messenger Rooms, which allows up to 50 people to video chat at a time.
Read on to know more about Messenger Rooms and the process of creating one:
What are Messenger Rooms?
In April 2020, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this new video-calling feature ‘Messenger Rooms’ in a live stream, to make it easy for people to spend quality time with family, friends, colleagues, and others who share the same interests. He said that more than 700 million people are making calls on Messenger and WhatsApp every day. Therefore, Facebook is doubling-down on private communication and trying to help people connect in smaller groups.
The product is a more feature-rich and expanded version of the existing Facebook Messenger’s video calling function, with no limit to how long you can talk. In fact, you do not even need a Facebook account to join a room. To use this feature, all you need to do is create a room and share it through News Feed, Groups, and Events, so that it is easy for people to drop by.
Bonus: Soon, the company will also add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Portal, too.
Facebook is promoting this new product in its main app with a carousel of cards at the top of the screen that lists various friends’ faces and the option to “Say Hi.” Tapping any one card will give you the option to create a room with that person or message them directly on Messenger.
Some Additional Features
While in a room, you can use Facebook’s augmented reality filters and change out your background to a virtual one. The company is also including 360-degree views of exotic locations for backgrounds, and it is working on beauty filters as well as filters designed to brighten a dark room.
Similar to another popular video-calling platform ‘Houseparty’, Messenger Rooms include several fun games that you can play with your friends on a group call.
Moreover, it has recently announced that people using Messenger Rooms can now choose to broadcast that Rooms chat to Live, the feature on Facebook that lets people broadcast directly through Groups, Pages, and in timelines via your Profile.
Facebook Rooms via Live will still come with controls for the call host: the limit is 50 people, users need a link to join, and the moderator/call host can still remove people if needed.
The difference now is that those calls will essentially be carried out on a stage, seen by as many as would have seen a live broadcast posted by that host. When the room goes “Live”, participants will have to opt-in to be a part of it, and they can leave before it starts to broadcast.
How to create a Room on Facebook?
You can join a room from your phone or desktop – there is no need to download anything. To create a Facebook Messenger room from your device, you need to have the latest version of Facebook and Messenger apps. If you do not have an updated version of these apps, you can download them from the Google Play Store or the App Store, as applicable. Once you have them installed, follow these simple steps to create a Room:
Open the Messenger mobile app.
Tap the People tab at the bottom of the screen.
Tap Create a Room.
Select the people who you want to join.
You can also share the room in your News Feed, Groups, and Events.
To share a Room with people who do not have Facebook, you can share a link with them.
You can choose to make the room available to any of your friends and anyone with whom you share the link or pick specific people on your friends' list who will then get personal Messenger invites from you. If you decide to make it public to your entire friends' list, it will show up at the top of the News Feed for your entire network, so beware of doing that on accident, and be cautious about where you put the link.
What about Privacy?
Facebook has included a host of privacy features to ensure Messenger Rooms is safe and secure of use. It allows you to lock a room so unwanted people do not join the call, remove participants who do not behave, leave, report, and block.
The company has said that Room links are complicated for hackers to guess given it includes a string of random characters and digits at the end, with numbers and letters in different cases. “This makes it challenging for hackers to guess the exact combination of characters, and a new link is generated every time you create a room,” Facebook notes.
Notably, Messenger Rooms are not end-to-end encrypted like WhatsApp group calls. Facebook said “there are significant challenges to providing end-to-end encryption for video calling with large groups of people” and they are actively working toward this for Messenger and Rooms.\
The Bottom Line
To put it in the business perspective, Facebook Messenger Rooms are a fantastic way to grow business, run webinars, and remove barriers to entry with customer engagement. The availability of video chats on both desktop and mobile devices is certainly going to benefit businesses who want to continue or grow face-to-face communication and relationship building with their customers.
With the advances in AR and backgrounds, the video chat is certainly going to be a fun way to engage your audience and show some of your behind-the-scenes personality. Hence, whether you are a local business or a multinational corporation, we recommend you to use ‘Facebook Messenger Rooms’ as a part of your Facebook Marketing Strategy.
Need help with creating one? Contact Turiya Communications LLP today and we can get you started with it! Visit our website www.turiyacommunications.com to know more!