Facebook’s New Messenger Rooms Looks to Take on Zoom and Houseparty

Messenger Rooms Mobile Colored

Today Facebook has announced Messenger Rooms, its new group video calls feature that allows users to drop-in at any time, similar to Houseparty. For group video calls, Messenger Rooms will soon be able to support up to 50 people (it’s limited to 8 for now), allowing for large video calls like Zoom.

With Messenger rooms, users can easily control who joins and sees the room (shareable links can be created), plus use augmented reality filters, 360-degree backgrounds and mood lighting. To create a Messenger Room, one just needs to use Messenger or Facebook and eventually Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal. To make it even easier to use, even those without Facebook accounts are able to join a Messenger Room.

Messenger Rooms is rolling out to some countries this week and expanding globally in the “coming weeks.” You’ll soon see the ‘Create a Room’ icon within Messenger on mobile and desktop.

WhatsApp Video Calls Increase to 8 People

Other announcements today also saw WhatsApp video calls increase its limit to 8 people, up from 4. “This helps people personally connect with small groups of people in a seamless way and with end-to-end encryption,” says the company.

Here’s what else is new from Facebook:

  • Facebook Dating via Messenger now supports video calls for virtual dating (roll out in coming months)
  • Live With returns on Facebook, allowing users to invite someone else into your Facebook Live broadcast
  • Instagram Live broadcasts can now be viewed on desktop (and comments posted too from desktop)
  • Facebook Portal and Pages can now go Live

Facebook added, “In places most affected by coronavirus, voice and video calling in Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled last month, and views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live increased significantly in March.”