Facebook will soon be releasing video calls capabilities that can accommodate up to 50 people at a single time. The new video conferencing tool will be usable in the new Messenger Rooms which will enable people to socialize with video calls during the quarantine necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic. The new development is estimated to threaten video conferencing rivals such as Zoom and Houseparty whose global usage has skyrocketed since coronavirus lockdown began.
While the normal Facebook Messenger video calls are restricted to eight people, Messenger Rooms will accommodate 50 users at a single time. Existing users of Facebook and Messenger will be able to create or initiate visual conferencing using Messenger Rooms. The video meeting initiator will be able to lock calls or remove users from the meeting, and participants can add silly face masks to their faces among other augmented reality filters to be included in the capability.
People who are not on Facebook or who do not presently have a Facebook account can be invited to join Messenger Rooms for video calls through dedicated invitation links.
Messenger Rooms will launch on Friday, but only a small number of video callers will be able to use it at a single time – it will gradually be ramped up to the 50 people limit. The number of users limit will vary from region to region at launch.
Meanwhile, Facebook revealed it will also increase the number of video callers on WhatsApp from four to eight. Furthermore, the company is also bringing a video calling feature to Facebook Dating so that users of the service can explore virtual dates. To sweeten the deal, Facebook promised to enlarge its live-streaming features on both Facebook and Instagram so that Instagram users can post their live-streams on IGTV.
“Between WhatsApp and Messenger, more than 700 million accounts participate in calls every day,” the company wrote. “In many countries, video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled, and views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live videos increased significantly in March.”