Facebook has announced a new feature for video calls called Messenger Rooms.
The feature allows users to launch a call from Messenger or Facebook and invite up to 50 people to join for an unlimited time, even those without a Facebook account.
Soon, the company has said, users will be able to create rooms from its other properties WhatsApp, Instagram and Portal, too.
The new option follows increased demand for video calling since the coronavirus outbreak.
Facebook said more than 700 million WhatsApp and Messenger users are participating in calls every day, and in many countries video calling more than doubled in the past month.
Messenger rooms are designed to make video calls feel more “real”, Facebook said, “like [people are] together, even when they are — or have to be — physically apart”. Users don’t need to schedule calls or call someone first, but can launch a room simply on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events. The service is available from a computer or mobile device, and, with the Messenger app, users can add AR effects and AI-powered features such as 360 backgrounds and mood lighting.
The user who creates a room controls the access. They can remove people from the call and lock a room to new users.
Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks.
Facebook also confirmed that it’s planning to expand the number of people allowed on WhatsApp group calls to eight.
In addition it’s adding new features to Facebook Live, which has seen a significant increase in views in the past month. These include adding guest presenters, audio-only events and streaming game play live from its new Facebook Gaming app.
REPORT: Telecom Paper