Facebook launches Messenger Rooms as an alternative to Zoom
While Zoom has been taking numerous steps to address various security and privacy concerns that have arisen in recent weeks, there are still plenty of people seeking alternatives to the video conferencing platform. Now Facebook is trying to make its Messenger tool a viable option.
With Facebook Messenger Rooms, the social media giant is giving people the option of conducting video chats with up to 50 people at a time. Unlike the free version of Zoom, there is no time limit on chats in Messenger Rooms, and as an added bonus there is no need to have a Facebook account to use it.
- Zoom 5.0 is a major update with enhanced encryption and more security options
- 10 top tips to help you use Zoom safely
- Hackers are selling two serious Zoom zero-day vulnerabilities for $500,000
Only the person setting up a meeting needs to have a Facebook account, and other participants can be invited to join in. No software need be downloaded or installed as Rooms can be accessed using just a web browser. Facebook is pitching the new feature as an "easy to spend quality time with friends, loved ones and people who share your interests", but it's something that could very easily be used for business meetings as well.
There are already numerous Zoom-like features such as AI-powered backgrounds and mood lighting filters, with the promise of more to come. Facebook says that you can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events, and that soon it will be possible to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal.
In the video below, Facebook shows off Messenger Rooms:
Taking something of a jab at Zoom, Facebook says that Messenger Rooms is built with privacy and security in mind. The company says:
We built Rooms with privacy and safety top of mind so you can feel comfortable connecting with your friends, family and communities. We don't view or listen to your calls, and the person who creates the room controls who can join, who sees the room, and if the room is locked or unlocked to new guests. The room creator must be present in order for the call to begin, and the creator can remove guests at any time. You can report a room name or submit feedback about a room if you believe it violated our Community Standards. Reports will not include audio or video from the room since we don't view or listen to your calls.
The roll out of Messenger Rooms is starting right now, and Facebook says it will expand to other countries -- including the US -- in the coming weeks.