Facebook Takes On Zoom With New Messenger Rooms For Video Conferencing

Zoom stock was rattled Friday, falling 6%, after Facebook introduced Messenger Rooms, a product that will let users invite as many as 50 people to a video call with no time limit. Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks, Facebook said.

As offices have closed and work migrated online, video conferencing has soared, lifting the sails of Zoom and smaller rivals despite more recent concerns about security for services that were never envisioned to handle the breadth and volume of usage they’ve encountered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook said it has felt the demand for real-time video as more than 700 million accounts between WhatsApp and Messenger participate in calls each day, up signficantly in March.

“But there’s more to do to make real-time feel real,” the social media giant said. It said uses who create a Messenger room from Messenger or Facebook can invite anyone to join a video call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Users can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events and Facebook said it will soon be adding ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal.

“When you’re invited to a room, you can join from your phone or computer — no need to download anything to get started. If you have the Messenger app, you can play with AR effects like bunny ears, and new AI-powered features like immersive 360 backgrounds and mood lighting” (that would be for the less formal office meetings).

Users can choose who sees and joins the room and it’s possible to remove people from the call and lock a room if you don’t want anyone else to enter.


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