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Facebook ‘Messenger Rooms’ join slew of video streaming apps

With video call platforms reaching record engagement in lockdown, Facebook has thrown its hat in the ring with Messenger Rooms. 

On Friday, Facebook announced a slew of new video-call features headlined by ‘Messenger Rooms’ which will allow up to 50 callers in a single session with no time limit. 

Anyone who’s anyone in social tech at the moment is looking to take advantage of this new hyper engaged audience as video-calling apps continue reporting record usage during the Covid-19 lockdown. And Facebook has finally shown its hand. 

While Zoom is probably odds-on favourite to emerge from lockdown as the chief beneficiary of this captive market, Facebook’s unique features will pose a threat as the weeks tick on. 

Though Messenger Rooms’ 50-person limit will not be immediately available at launch on Friday (27/03), a spokesperson has claimed it will ramp up user capacity shortly after. Thankfully, Messenger Rooms will roll out with all the customary AR selfie tech you’d expect from the owners of Instagram, and will allow the host to lock calls and remove users, should the novelty of quizzing with cartoon dogs and bearded babies wear off.

People can even accept invites and join calls if they don’t have a Facebook account, provided they can maintain a steady internet connection from their caves. 

Facebook isn’t banking on success with just Messenger Rooms either. WhatsApp is raising its video-call capacity from four to eight people, and Instagram is now allowing livestreams to reside in IGTV, giving followers a longer window to catch livestreams after they’ve ended. 

Between WhatsApp and Messenger alone, more than 700 million people participate in calls every day and March saw a meteoric rise in viewership on Facebook Live and Instagram Live.  

With this multi-pronged approach in play, it’s safe to say another big contender has entered the farmyard. 

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