Social networking site Facebook has upped its pursuits relating to video and live streaming by introducing a new video-calling feature called Messenger Rooms.
At the end of March, when Britain and much of the world first went into lockdown, Facebook highlighted a surge in live streaming on the platform. As the coronavirus pandemic has gone on, more people have been using video calling as a way of keeping in touch with their friends and family, with businesses also using these tools to hold meetings with colleagues, clients and other acquaintances while working remotely.
Firstly, Facebook launched a desktop app for its Messenger service that would allow people to make video calls from their web browser as a way to compete with new rival Zoom.
Now, it has advanced the capabilities of video chat within its services by launching Messenger Rooms. This service is similar in nature to Houseparty and will allow users to have spontaneous interactions with each other. A ‘Room’ can be formed without users having to directly call each other, thus making them more casual in comparison to a standard video call.
Rooms can be created and then the link to it can be shared, with invitees able to join in at any point. People can join in when the Room opens, or later on when the chat is underway. A Room is started on Facebook either through the main news feed, through a group or event page. Users will have full control over who can see and join in, though when created through an event or group page, everyone who is a member of the group or event is a member by default.
The creator of the Room will also have the ability to remove people or to lock the Room so no further participants are able to join. There is a limit on the number of people that can be involved, with this number standing at 50 participants. Facebook has also said that it will soon add new ways of creating Rooms, with the company looking at ways of doing this through other platforms it owns, such as WhatsApp and Instagram.
Users can join a Room through both the mobile and desktop version of the Facebook platform and will not have to download an additional app. People are even able to join without having their own Facebook account, provided they have been sent a link to the Room. Facebook has not provided specific details in terms of the global rollout of Messenger Rooms, with the company saying that it will launch in some countries this week, with the worldwide rollout to take place in the coming weeks.
Facebook has been looking into the demand it is experiencing for video calling on the platform, as it says that more than 700 million use video calls each day across Messenger and WhatsApp. With demand and usage both soaring during the COVID-19 crisis, with some countries seeing these stats double in March, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes that this trend is here to stay and was heading in this direction before lockdown.
With Facebook looking at ways of keeping people connected during lockdown, could businesses soon be using its features to conduct meetings with colleagues and clients? For help with any aspect of Facebook for Business, find out what Engage Web is offering.