By Josephine Akaerr
Facebook on Friday, April 24, 2020, introduced new products that make it easier to spend quality time with loved ones and to deal with feelings of isolation and loneliness during challenging times like the present COVID-19 pandemic.
Facebook has lately monitored a rise in demand for real-time video with Video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp video more than doubling in areas most affected by COVID-19, while usage of Facebook Live and Instagram Live has increased significantly indicating a need to do more to make real-time feel real.
Spending time with each other should be spontaneous, not strained. So to help people feel like they’re together, even when they are — or have to be — physically apart, Facebook is announcing features across its products that make video chat and live video more easy, useful and natural.
Introducing Messenger Rooms
Messenger Rooms are joinable group video calls that make it easy for users to spend quality time with friends, loved ones and people who share their interests. Users can create a room right from Messenger or Facebook, and invite anyone to join, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Rooms will soon hold up to 50 people with no time limit.
Users can also host celebrations, organize a book club or just hang out on the couch with friends. They don’t need to call someone and hope it’s a good time or check everyone’s calendar first. They can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events, so it’s easy for people to drop by. Facebook will soon add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct and WhatsApp too.
If a users’ friends or communities create rooms that are open to them, they’ll be able to see them on Facebook and be able to find things to do and people to hang out with. When one is invited to a room as a user, they can join from their phone or computer without having to download anything to get started and if one has the Messenger app, they can play with camera filters like bunny ears and new AI-powered features like immersive 360 backgrounds and mood lighting.
When a user creates a room, they can choose who can see and join it and can remove people from the call and lock a room anytime they don’t want anyone else to enter. Users can get more information on their privacy while using Messenger rooms through this link on Privacy Matters: Messenger rooms. Messenger Rooms is rolling out a test in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks.
Expanding WhatsApp Group Video Calls
WhatsApp video calls are another way to stay in touch. Soon users will be able to have group voice and video calls with up to eight people on WhatsApp. As before, these calls are secured with end-to-end encryption so no one else can view or listen to your private conversation, not even WhatsApp.