COVID-19 has jump-started interest in virtual meeting and video chat programs. To stay in touch with family, friends, co-workers, and colleagues, you can use a variety of apps, from Zoom and Skype to FaceTime and Microsoft Teams. But a new option from Facebook offers a different twist on the concept of virtual meetings.
With Facebook Messenger Rooms, you can create a virtual room where people can come by and spend time with you on video. Your room can stay up all the time, or you can open it for specific occasions like a happy hour, game night, or birthday party. Open the room to all your Facebook friends or just invite specific people. Messenger Rooms works on the Facebook and Messenger websites or app. Unfortunately, only Chrome and Edge web browsers are supported.
If you don’t want to use the Rooms feature, you can still use Facebook and Messenger to place video and audio calls. By accessing your past Messenger chats, you can call one person or a group of people. After you’re connected, you can control your audio and video, share your screen, and chat with the other person. This video chat feature works in all browsers.
Join a Messenger Room
Open Facebook on mobile or the web. At the top of your feed under the “What’s on your mind” field will be Messenger Room entries for any Facebook friends currently signed into Facebook.
If someone has already created a Messenger Room and has joined it on their end, the button will say “Join.” Click the Join button, then click the Join as button on the next screen.
Once you are both in the room, you should be able to see each other for the video call. Close the Messenger Room video window when done.
Create a Messenger Room
If someone is currently signed into Facebook but has not yet created a Messenger Room, the button will read “Say Hi.” If none of the friends currently signed in have created a room, then the icons for the rooms may appear smaller with no button. In that case, hover your mouse over each friend’s Messenger Room icon to see the status. Click the Say Hi button.
At the next window, you can create your own room, and the person you selected will automatically be invited, or you can send a message to that person. Click the option to send a message. Type your message and send it to the other person.
To create your own Messenger Room, click the icon to Create Room either in the Messenger Rooms section or in the “What’s on your mind” section.
At the window to create your room, click the first entry for Room activity. You can then choose the type of activity you want, which will serve as a sort of topic for the Room. You can choose a general room with your name, a room for hanging out, a room for bored at home, a room for TGIF, a room for Happy Hour, a room for a birthday, a room for Karaoke, or other types of rooms.
Next, you can choose who you want to invite to your room, either all your Facebook friends or only specific people. By choosing the second option, you are then asked to select from a list of friends who you want to invite.
You are then asked when you want to start your room. Select a specific day and time or just keep it at the current time to start it immediately. Click Save.
Click the Create Room button to finalize the process. The room will then appear in the Rooms section of Facebook. Click the Join button when you want your room to be accessible to other people.
Anyone who was invited should now see a Join button for your room in their feeds. Clicking on Join then connects all of you via a video call.
Create Rooms on Messenger
If you want to create a Room in Facebook Messenger, you can do this on the web at the Messenger website. Click the video camera button to open a new video window. From here, you can copy the chat’s shareable code and send it to others.
By default, anyone with the link can join, but you can change that. Click Edit, then you can change it so people have to be on Facebook to join. On mobile, you can create a Room by first creating a group conversation.
Once inside a room, you have several options. Click the Share icon to share your entire screen or just a specific window or app. Click the video icon to turn off your video feed or click the microphone to mute your audio.
Click the people icon to see call participants. From this menu you can remove another person from the room, share a link to the room, or lock the room so no one else can join.
Click the gear icon in the top right to view settings. At the Settings screen, you can change the sources for the camera, microphone, or speakers. You can also see the keyboard shortcuts for different features.
Click the double-arrow icon at the upper right to jump to full-screen mode. Click the Esc key to shift back to windowed mode.
Edit Room Settings
You can also tweak the setting for your Messenger Room. In your Facebook feed, click on the room’s icon anywhere outside of the Join button. At the window for your room, click the Invite button to invite additional friends. Click the Share icon to share the link for the room in a Facebook post.
Click the Edit icon, and you can change the name of the room, the people who’ve been invited, and the start time. Click Update Room to save changes. You can close the room by clicking the End Room icon.
Regular Video Chats
If you don’t want to create a Messenger Room and still want to video chat with Facebook friends, you can still do that. On Facebook, click the name of the person you want to call from Messenger. In the Messenger window, click the camera icon. You can also click the video icon inside the Messenger app to call another person.
If the other person is available and answers your call, you’re then connected. At the video call window, you can turn off the video, mute the microphone, and share your screen. You can also add other people to the call. When finished, click the phone icon to end the call.
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