Facebook is looking to take on Zoom with the Social Networking company launching Messenger rooms, to its Messenger app.

With Messenger Rooms, users can host group calls of up to 50 people and instead of individually trying to add people into the room, users can post links in their Facebook News Feed or in Groups or event pages.

Unlike Messengers current video chat feature users don’t need to have the Messenger app or even a Facebook account to join a room. Instead, once a room is created anyone can join via their browser, though hosts can opt to “lock” rooms to new guests to prevent party crashers.

There are of course, other Zoom like features being added to Messenger rooms, that include “immersive 360-degree backgrounds that transport you to beautiful and iconic spaces, from the beach to a luxe apartment on the water,” along with “14 new camera filters that offer ambient lighting to brighten your space and your face.”

Facebook has stated that Messenger Rooms will not have any time limits for video chat sessions, which users can also schedule in advance if they like also.

Facebook has stated that Messenger Rooms will begin rolling out in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks.

The company is also expanding WhatsApp group calls, which will enable WhatsApp users to be able to have group voice and video calls with up to eight people. Facebook have stated that these group voice and video calls are secured with end-to-end encryption so no one else can view or listen to your private conversation.

Lastly, Facebook has stated that it will be bring new live video features to Facebook, Instagram and Portal that include:

On Facebook:

  • It is bringing back Live With so you can add another person into your live video, no matter where they are in the world. Bring on a guest speaker, interview an expert or perform with a friend.
  • You’ll be able to mark Facebook Events as online only and, in the coming weeks, integrate Facebook Live so you can broadcast to your guests. To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.
  • To help you raise money for causes, you can now add the donate button to live videos wherever non-profit fundraisers are available.
  • It is making it easier to access live video so you can watch or listen anywhere. If you have limited data or a spotty connection, you now have the option to listen to the audio only.
  • You can livestream games from your phone to Facebook using the new Facebook Gaming app available on Google Play. The app also lets you play games instantly, watch your favourite streamers and discover new gaming groups. Tournaments are another new feature for game streaming that lets you create, play and watch the competition in one spot. Tournaments are available on Facebook today, and coming to the Facebook Gaming app soon.
  • To help you support some of your favourite creators, we’re expanding Stars to more Pages and more countries. Once you buy Stars you can send them to creators while they’re streaming, and they’ll earn 1 cent for every Star.

On Instagram:

  • You can now watch and comment on live videos from your desktop. Follow along with that yoga class on a bigger screen or listen to a live performance as you work.
  • After you go live, you’ll soon be able to save your videos to IGTV so they stick around longer than the 24-hour limit in Stories and are easier for others to find.

On Portal:

  • You’ll soon be able to go live from Portal to Facebook Pages and Groups.

These features along with Messenger rooms will be launching in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks. It will be interesting to see if Facebook Messenger Rooms can take on the might of Zoom.

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