Social Media

Facebook rolls out new group calling feature- Messenger rooms

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 25, 2020 Published on April 25, 2020

File Photo   -  REUTERS

Facebook on Friday announced its new video conferencing feature, Messenger Rooms. Messenger rooms are joinable group video calls that can soon accommodate up to 50 people in a single call.

“Introducing Messenger Rooms, group video links that allow you to drop in and spend quality time with friends, family and people who share your interests,” Facebook tweeted from its official account.

The social media giant’s attempt to one-up Zoom, Messenger rooms lets users create a room from Messenger or Facebook and invite other users to join irrespective of them having a Facebook account.

“Rooms will soon hold up to 50 people with no time limit,” Facebook said in an official blog post.

What is a Messenger room?

User’s can start a Messenger room and share it directly on their News Feed, Groups and Events, so “it’s easy for people to drop by.” The feature sounds much like a group chat version of a Facebook or Instagram Live.

“If your friends or communities create rooms that are open to you, you’ll see them on Facebook so you can find things to do and people to hang out with. When you’re invited to a room, you can join from your phone or computer — no need to download anything to get started,” Facebook said.

According to Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp, together have over 700 million accounts that participate in voice and video calls every day, and the number of calls has more than doubled in many countries owing to the pandemic.

“In some cases, the number of group video calls has gone up by more than 10 times,” it said.

The social media giant is leveraging its increased usage to roll out better video calling features. It also outlined certain privacy guidelines that the app will follow with its security features.

The user who creates the room can control who can join, who sees the room, and if the room is locked or unlocked to new guests. The call can begin only when the user who has created the room is present on the call and the creator can remove guests at any time. Users can also report a room name or submit feedback about a room if they believe it violates Facebook’s Community Standards, the company said.

Facebook will be rolling out Messenger Rooms in “some countries” this week and will expand the feature to the rest of the world in coming weeks, including the US, it said.

It will also continue to add more features over the coming months.

“Soon we’ll add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal, too,” Facebook said.

Published on April 25, 2020

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