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Facebook’s 50-person Zoom alternative, Messenger Rooms, is now available

Users can now put Facebook’s new video chat product, Messenger Rooms to use. As announced by the company a few days ago, the new video product is now available to everyone on both mobile and desktop.

The product is a big upgrade on the existing Facebook Messenger’s video calling function.  It is richer in features and has an expanded version of the old Facebook messenger allowing up to 50 people to chat on video with no time limit through either the main Facebook app or through the dedicated Messenger one.

Users can also set limits on who can join or they can make it public to anyone with the link even if they don’t have a Facebook account.

Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s vice president of Messenger, in a blog post published today, wrote,  “You can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events, so it’s easy for you to drop by whenever you want.

 “You can choose who can see and join your room or remove people from your room and lock the room if you don’t want anyone else to join.”

Furthermore, users can still use Messenger to perform one-on-one calls and video chats or group calls and group video chats just as they could before now. However, if they tap over to the “People” section of Messenger, they ’ll have the option to create a room. From there, they can set parameters like the function of the room — “hanging out” or “happy hour,” among other choices, as well as a custom option — and who’s allowed in. They can also do the same from the top of the Facebook News Feed in the main app.

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The company also says that users can choose to make the room available to any of their friends and anyone with whom they share the link or pick specific people on their friends’ list who will then get personal Messenger invites from them. If users now decide to make it public to their entire friends’ list, it will show up at the top of the News Feed for their entire network so they have to be careful not to do that on accident. Users are also advised to be cautious about where they put links.

For Facebook’s broader business, Messenger Rooms is an opportunity for it to reposition its messaging products as more familiar and well-polished versions of popular video chat alternatives. Facebook says it does not end-to-end encrypt the calls, as it does on WhatsApp, but it says it will not view or listen to calls, just as it doesn’t do on Messenger. The company is also advising users to report rooms where illicit behavior is taking place.