How to start Instagram group video chat w/ Messenger Rooms

Instagram is the latest of Facebook’s services to gain support for its new group video chat feature, Messenger Rooms. Follow along for a look at how it works…

Facebook announced and rolled out Messenger Rooms as a Zoom and Group FaceTime competitor to a small group of users back in April. Then lask week opened it up to everyone with support for up to 50 people in a video chat.

Part of the plan was to bring Messenger Rooms to Instagram and WhatsApp and today, Instagram has gained support for the new feature. Instagram shared the news in a Twitter post and elsewhere.

Technically, the new functionality just allows you to start the call through Instagram but has you leave the app and head to Messenger for the actual video call.

How to start Instagram group video chat with Messenger Rooms:

  1. In Instagram, head to Direct (paper airplane in the top right corner)
  2. Tap the video icon in the top right corner (left of the new DM icon)
  3. Select Create a Room then tap Create Room as…
  4. Choose up to 49 friends, choose Send
  5. Now tap Join Room to head to the video chat you created (this will take you out of Instagram)

Instagram notes that you can lock a Messenger Room if you want to limit who can join. If you aren’t seeing the feature available quite it, it should arrive soon.

As we’ve previously mentioned, Messenger Rooms group video chats are not encrypted like Group FaceTime or even WhatsApp video chats. If you need something secure, you’ll want to go with another option. However, for casual video calls, Messenger Rooms will certainly see an uptick in use with the new Instagram integration.

For the time being, WhatsApp is offering video calls for up to eight people that keep users in the app. But at some point, Facebook is expected to integrate Messenger Rooms support there too.

Here’s how the process looks:

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