Messenger Rooms, Facebook’s attempt to take on the likes of Zoom with group video calls, is now live. Anyone can create a room in Messenger, but only folks in North America can start one on Facebook for the time being. You’ll soon be able to create rooms on Instagram and WhatsApp too.
"WhatsApp and Messenger are already the most popular video calling services globally, but for large groups most of the video services out there are designed for work, not social interactions," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his own page. There are no time limits on the chats (unlike on some other group video calling apps) and they can pack in up to 50 people.
Your friends can join a private room when you share a link with them or you can just open one on your News Feed and see who pops in. Rooms are also available in groups and on event pages. You'll have the option to lock rooms to keep out interlopers or to boot people out of a group chat.
You won't need a Facebook account to join a room -- you can take part via a browser as well. You can start rooms from the latest version of the mobile Messenger and Facebook apps, as well as the desktop Messenger app and the Facebook website.