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Facebook launches Messenger Rooms, brings group video calls with up to 50 people

With Messenger Rooms, Facebook will be directly targeting platforms such as Zoom. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Sushant Talwar | April 25, 2020 | Updated 13:12 IST
Facebook Rooms

Highlights

  • Facebook has launched a new platform, Messenger Rooms
  • Messenger Rooms lets users create group video calls with up to 50 participants
  • Messenger Rooms will compete directly with apps such as Zoom and Houseparty

We live in a very different world from the one just a few months ago. Office spaces have gone empty as both employers and employees look to the cloud and alternative solutions to carry out economic activities. Friends and families have also moved to group video calls to stay in touch with each other.

But owing to the lack of supported platforms, many have had to look at solutions such as Zoom to fix our lockdown induced problems. But it appears the biggest tech giants of the world are finally ready to bridge the gap and roll-out new platforms to help people easily connect with the world around them.

The latest in the list is Facebook, which has announced new features heading to Messenger which it hopes will make it easier to connect with business contacts, but also close friends and family.

The company has rolled out a new platform, Messenger Rooms, which is basically a platform to create group video calls where the host can invite up to 50 people to join a room and carry out a conversation. Interestingly, the platform is open to all and doesn't even require one to own a Facebook account to be able to join a Messenger Rooms call.

The feature was announced by Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg who that users will be able to select who is allowed to discover and join their room or make it only accessible to those with a link.

Messenger Rooms will also work a little bit like Houseparty, with active conferences being shown on a user' feed, and unlocked ones bringing in the ability of simply being joined in by the user at a touch of a button.

With Messenger Rooms, Facebook will be directly targeting platforms such as Zoom which have grown in popularity over the last few months. Earlier, the platform had reported that its number of users has skyrocketed because of the largescale adoption of video conference services during lockdowns. Currently, the service has more than 300 million daily users after only having 10 million in December.

However, with Facebook jumping into the fray with its Messenger Rooms and number of privacy concerns also being raised against new platforms such as Zoom, the number of active users for the latter could decrease drastically in the coming weeks.

While Messenger Rooms will be limited to Facebook for now, in the future it will be integrated with Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Portal, according to Facebook VP of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky.

Apart from this, Facebook has also introduced new AI-powered effects in Messenger to add to the app's existing augmented reality filters. These include 360-degree backgrounds like luxe apartments and beaches, 14 camera filters and camping-themed stickers and backdrops.

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