What you need to know
- Facebook has launched a competitor to Zoom and Group FaceTime.
- Messenger Rooms allows users to video call with up to fifty people.
- You can create and join rooms within the Facebook and Messenger app.
With many of us under stay at home orders, video calling has skyrocketed in popularity. Services like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype have seen increases of millions of active users. It appears that Facebook wants to get into the game, specifically putting itself in place as a Zoom or Group FaceTime alternative.
Today, the company announced Messenger Rooms in a press release on its corporate website. Facebook says that Messenger Rooms "make it easy to spend quality time with friends, loved ones and people who share your interests."
Users will be able to create a room from within the Facebook or Messenger app and invite anyone to join the video call, even if they do not have a Facebook account. A room will eventually be able to support up to fifty people, but Facebook does not say exactly when.
"Host celebrations, gather a book club or just hang out on the couch with friends. You don't need to call someone and hope it's a good time or check everyone's calendar first. You can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events, so it's easy for people to drop by. Soon we'll add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal, too."
Rooms that are open to you will appear at the top of the Facebook app, right above Facebook Stories. When you create a room, you will be able to set who is allowed to join the room.
Messenger Rooms is available in "some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks."
The company is also expanding video call support to eight users at a time for WhatsApp. It is also bringing live video support for Instagram on the desktop. You can read about all of the new features in the press release.
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