It’s the moment at least a couple of people have been waiting for: Facebook Messenger Rooms have dropped.
Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post-Thursday that Messenger Rooms, the social media network’s answer to Zoom, is now available to everyone in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The video chat feature will also be available globally “in the next week.”
Facebook first announced the feature at the end of April, but did not provide details about when it would be available other than “soon.” Props to the Facebook engineers who clearly busted their butts to deliver this timely product.
Messenger Rooms work similarly to Zoom in that all you need is a URL — not an account — to join. You can tie rooms to events or groups, only send them out to a select group of people, or post them so friends can “stop by,” à la Houseparty.
“You don’t need to schedule a time to hang out like other video conferencing tools — it’s much more serendipitous and fun,” Zuckerberg writes, like the totally normal and non-robot human he is.
Some additional advantages to using Rooms are that it displays participants in tile mode, can host up to 50 people, and there’s no time limit (Zoom calls on free accounts have a time limit of 40 minutes). Plus, in some countries where Facebook is the primary means of communication, the new video chat product could be a boon.
However, there are plenty of reasons to not make Messenger Rooms your video chatting platform of choice. Chief among them: it’s a product made by Facebook, a company with a notoriously terrible privacy record, with a primary business of learning as much about you in order to help companies sell you things. You can take a closer look at all the privacy-oriented reasons you might want to be skeptical of Messenger Rooms here.