instagramlogoInstagram has been updated to allow users to create group video chats with up to 50 people on the social platform, thanks to an integration with Facebook's recently announced Messenger Rooms feature.

Facebook unveiled Messenger Rooms as an alternative to Zoom and Group FaceTime last month, releasing it to a small trial group of users. Facebook said part of its plan was to extend the capability to its WhatsApp and Instagram platforms, and the latter app appears to have gotten the integration first.

The following steps walk you through the process of setting up a Messenger Room. Bear in mind that you'll need Facebook Messenger installed on your device as well, as Instagram hands over the actual videoconferencing to Facebook's messaging app.

  1. Launch Instagram and tap the paper airplane icon in the top-right corner to go to the Direct screen.
  2. Tap the Camera icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Tap Create a Room.
  4. In the card that appears, tap Create Room as [your name] .
  5. Tap the checkboxes next to the people you want to invite to your room, then tap Send.
  6. In the card that appears, either tap Join Room to start the conversation, or tap Send Link to share a link to the room with others so they can join.
  7. When you tap Join Room, tap OK in the prompt to leave Instagram and launch the group video chat in Facebook Messenger.
  8. Wait for others to join your room.

Messenger Rooms aren't end-to-end encrypted like ‌FaceTime‌ or WhatsApp group video chats, so it's meant to be used on a more casual basis, but Messenger does allow you to lock a room to limit the amount of people who have joined the room. Facebook is expected to extend Messenger Rooms support to WhatsApp in the near future.

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