Facebook has been playing a proactive role to help people get connected during this Corona Virus outbreak, and the new update Facebook has rolled out today for Messenger Group-calls is something that seems to only prove the point further.

Messenger Rooms, much like Zoom Video Conferences, allow for a large number of people to connect together in a chat room of sorts. This feature, which can be used in Messenger groups, allows both group admins and members to initiate group calls.

However, only the admins can perform certain admin-specific functions. These include muting members, filtering the chatroom, or limiting call privileges to admins only, much like the Host and Co-host privileges in Zoom calls.

It’s no secret that Zoom literally marinated, heavily-seasoned and double-battered in privacy and security issues. So, the drastic rise in its unsuspecting users is something to be concerned about. By the end of 2019, Zoom had a measly 10 million users. Right now, it has a little over 300 million daily users.

But Facebook is no Nerd-God dropping boons to the general population either. It’s fair to say, Facebook has had its share of privacy and security related controversies.

Messenger’s Vice President, Stan Chudnovsky has addressed this issue as, “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”. This promises much more than what Zoom does. And the fact that many customers pay for Zoom’s services makes this matter even worse. Safe to say, Facebook won’t be ratting our privacy to advertisers and AI bots, at least not directly.

For excited folks, here’s how you get started with Messenger Rooms:

  • Tap the Chats tab in your group
  • Tap the “Start a Group Chat” button at the bottom of your screen
  • In this section of your group, you will find all the group chat threads listed and can even start your own thread. You can then continue chatting in Messenger

Even though the person initiating the call, the ‘chat owner’ needs to have a Facebook ID, participants without one can also join on mobile and desktop. And, as opposed to the 40-minute restriction for free members on Zoom, Messenger call-rooms can hold up to 50 participants with no time restriction. You can start these calls within a group chat, or create an invite link to send to participants.

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