Tech

Facebook Introduces “Messenger Rooms” to Grab a Piece of the Market Pie

By Bill Toulas / April 25, 2020

Facebook wants to take on Zoom, which keeps on rising despite the privacy and security concerns that have arisen recently. By introducing "Messenger Rooms," the social media giant hopes that people will start video chatting on its platform instead, and it is actually leaving it open and accessible even by those who don't have a Facebook account. "Rooms" will be able to accommodate up to fifty people, which is pretty crazy for a free service, while there will be no time limits either.

Those who have Facebook accounts will be able to create and share rooms with others by sending them links, publishing the room on their News Feed, and sharing it on a Group or an Events page. WhatsApp, Portal, and Instagram are not supported right now, but Facebook promises to add a way for users of these products to create Messenger Rooms soon. Those who don't have an account on the popular social media network will only be able to join a room after someone has shared the link with them. People may use their smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops, so there are no hardware-related limitations either.

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Source: Facebook

The creator of a room will have the power to kick people out, make the room private, lock it with a password, block users, or report anything that violates Facebook's Community Standards. Facebook will only ask participants to pick a nickname for the video chat room, so no identification details will be involved. To protect against "bombing," Facebook's engineers have implemented a system that involves the injection of random characters in the Room URLs, so hackers will find it quite challenging to guess any links to rooms. Also, the Rooms won't include any sort of ads, at least for now.

Facebook is making it clear that Messenger Rooms isn't end-to-end encrypted, but the new service does come with some level of encryption. As the company explains, it is hard to provide strong encryption in video calling groups that can reach up to fifty participants, but they are working on it. Maybe they will manage to offer end-to-end encryption for Rooms in the future, but this is not the case right now. Take this as another reminder of why parents of children using the recently expanded "Messenger Kids" should supervise their moppets, and why you should use "Messenger Rooms" with care yourself.



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