Messenger Rooms will let a host create a room for video communication and invite users with a shareable link and control who can join.
Users will soon be able to also create and joins rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp & Portal, and also hold up to 50 people with no time bounds. Presently, users can start a room from Facebook or Messenger.
The creator of a room can also invite people who do not have a Facebook account. The host can also share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups, and Events.
If a user spots a room on any of these tabs, they’ll be able to join if the room is open to them, and when someone has been invited, they don’t need to download anything to get started. In case they don’t have a Facebook account, although they wouldn’t have few options such as AR effects available in the Messenger app.
Users can host video meetings or conferences for professional communication, use Messenger Rooms for leisurely group activities, or just hang out with friends. Since one does not need a Facebook account to join, the feature makes it universally accessible, just the host would need a Facebook account to start a room.
The host controls who can join, how can one find it, whether to enable a shareable link and can also customize the default settings to design and manage the privacy and experience of the room.
Locking lets users lock or unlock a room once a call begins. Group admins are the only exceptions who join in when a room is created through that Group.
The host can remove an unwanted participant. If the host removes someone from the call or leaves, the room will lock automatically and the host would have to unlock the room for others to join.
Users can leave the room at any point, irrespective of it being locked or not. They can also Report a room or leave feedback if they think it violates Community Standards. Although, reports and feedback will not include audio or video from the room.
If you’ve Blocked a user who is or has been bothering you, they won’t be able to join a room you’re in and you won’t be able to join a room they’re in.
Access to Information
The platform claims they don’t watch or listen to any of the audio or video calls. If users are not logged in to Facebook while joining a room, they would be asked for limited information, in most cases just the name.
Participants who are not your friends on Facebook would be able to see and hear what you share in the room, but not outside. Apart from the information that you have otherwise made publically available or shared in Groups that you both are a part of.
Information such as the name of the room and participants would be shared with third-party or outside vendors who work with Facebook to execute reviewing, addressing issues, and more.
Shareable room links used to invite participants have been designed to be generated with a random string of characters and digits to make it difficult for hackers to bomb a room, and a new link is generated every time a room is created.
Irrespective of whether a user joins through the Facebook family of apps or not, Facebook collects data from rooms. Information such as device, browser type, product usage information, and technical information will be collected from participants who do not have a Facebook account.
The platform claims audio and video from rooms won’t be used to inform ads, and rooms don’t display any ads. Rooms are not end-to-end encrypted, apart from being so in a handful of countries where they have stringent laws placed around the data that travels through servers and devices. You can also read more about Facebook’s Data Policy and Ad Preferences.
Messenger Rooms is presently out in some countries and will expand gradually on full scale globally in the coming weeks.
With containment measures in place globally, Facebook has been constantly making video calling and video features more accessible and flexible across its family of apps with updates or new additions, to cater to the rising demand.
Facebook has also seemingly taken cues from Zoom, the video conferencing app that peaked overnight as users caught sight of video communication to enable collaboration while working remotely.
Zoom’s privacy issues were growing in numbers, and often participants were victims of ‘Zoombombing’. The options such as Locking, the host being able to control settings that enable a user to find or join a room, and a more privacy-oriented generation of links might be able to curb hacking. And, consequently also make Messenger Rooms more preferable than other apps.