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Facebook Messenger rooms: What you need to know

  • Written by cybersecurity and online safety expert, Wayne Denner

    As you would expect – with the amount of group video chat-calls taking place these days, Facebook, the world’s biggest and best known social media platform would not want to miss out on that action. 

    Drum roll Facebook Messenger Rooms.. their newly launched group video-chat feature. Can be accessed via Facebook or it’s Messenger app.

    The new feature allows for up to 50 people to join a video chat that includes 360-degree augmented reality background filters!.

    Messenger Rooms is different in that you don’t need to have a Facebook account to be able to join a room.  Facebook has also announced that it plans to develop the ability to chat with more people to both WhatsApp and Instagram very soon.

    Image Credit: Facebook.com

    What Privacy and Safety features does it have?

    Good question.  Smart to ask this before jumping in to new apps with video chat features.   

    Here’s what you need to know about Messenger Rooms:

    • Lacks end-to-end encryption
    • You can change the visibility settings, which allow users to control who can see their room.
    • You can share the link to your room freely across the Internet and on other social media platforms.  This can attract unwanted attention into a room
    • It’s not clear what ’Meta Data’ is shared with whom and for what purpose, how long data is stored or where it ends up.
    • You do not have the option to password protect your room.

    Remember

    We’ve seen issues already on other popular video chat platforms eg ‘Zoombombing’ on Zoom.

    RELATED: Tech Craic: Wayne Denner - Online safety and cybersecurity

    Top 5 TIPS

    Some things to keep in mind if you’re considering adding yet another group video-chat to your communication channels:

    • Lock Your Room.  To prevent random people and unwanted attention from joining.
    • Unlock to invite more people in if you like but don’t forget to lock it again. 
    • Remove anyone who is being inappropriate or abusive within the room
    • Don’t post or share personal or private information
    • Be extra careful about and with whom you post your room publicly.

    Remember Messenger rooms does not offer end-to-end encryption so you won’t have the enhanced privacy which you perhaps might have on another platform

    Found this blog helpful? Get access to all of my Online Safety Videos & Digital Wellbeing resources via the CoBabble App

    Stay safe online, and off.

    Wayne

    RELATED: Wayne Denner's 5 CyberScams to watch out for

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