We all are stuck at home right now practicing social distancing and being quarantined over COVID-19 coronavirus, and now Facebook has finally (seriously, why haven't they done it until now) announced Messenger Rooms.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Messenger Rooms feature in a livestream today, and in an interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg explained that Facebook's new video features were planned as a larger part of creating more private messaging tools.
Zuckerberg explained: "Video presence isn't a new area for us. But it's an area that we want to go deeper in, and it fits the overall theme, which is that we're shifting more resources in the company to focus on private communication and private social platforms, rather than just the traditional broader ones. So this is a good mix: we're building tools into Facebook and Instagram that are helping people find smaller groups of people to then go have more intimate connections with, and be able to have private sessions with".
Messenger Rooms will roll out globally in the coming weeks, and will allow 50 people to join the call. If you're the creator of the Messenger Room, then you'll have the power to keep it open -- or lock it down to stop uninvited people from joining your private call. Facebook will extend the rooms through to Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal after the initial Messenger Rooms roll out.
Better yet, guests won't require a Facebook account to join the rooms.
When you're in the room, you'll be able to play around with Facebook augmented reality filters, switch out your real-life background for a slick virtual background, 360-degree views of other locations, and more.
With all the recent drama surround Zoom and the "accidental" routing of video calls and data to China... you'd think Facebook (which has its myriad of privacy concerns as it is) would have end-to-end encryption on Messenger Rooms. Yeah, no -- no soup for you -- no privacy for you as Facebook has no end-to-end encryption on the rooms.
Zuckerberg added: "A lot of the time that I've spent on this over the last few weeks as we've been building this out and getting ready to ship has been on privacy, security, integrity reviews, and how do we make sure that a lot of the use cases that that have been problematic around Zoom are not going to be things that are replicated here".
Rooms will be made available in Messenger starting today virtually worldwide, while it will be available inside of the Facebook app itself in some countries today, and globally in the coming weeks.