It’s the moment at least a few people have been waiting for: Facebook Messenger Rooms have fallen.
Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post Thursday that Messenger Rooms, the social media network’s response to Zoom, is now available to everyone in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The video chat feature will also be available worldwide “next week”.
Facebook first announced the feature in late April, but didn’t release any details about when it would be available, except “soon.”
Messenger rooms work much like zooming. All you need is a URL and no account to become a member. You can link rooms to events or groups, send them only to a selected group of people, or post them so that friends can “stop by” à la houseparty.
“You don’t have to schedule time to hang out like other video conferencing tools – it’s much more random and more fun,” Zuckerberg writes, like the normal person who’s not a robot.
Some additional advantages of using rooms are that participants are shown in tile mode, can accommodate up to 50 people and there is no time limit (zoom calls to free accounts have a time limit of 40 minutes). In some countries where Facebook is the primary means of communication, the new video chat product could be a blessing.
However, there are many reasons not to make Messenger Rooms your preferred video chat platform. Most importantly, it’s a product from Facebook, a company with a notoriously horrific privacy record, whose main job is to learn so much about you to help companies sell you things. You can take a closer look at all of the privacy-related reasons why you want to be skeptical of Messenger Rooms.