Facebook New Video App To Allow Up To 50 Participants Drop In On A Call

Facebook has added a wave of new video-calling features to WhatsApp, Messenger and its main app, following increased demand for social video calling.

New Messenger Rooms will let people start group video chats that can be joined by up to 50 people.

The company told the BBC it released the features earlier than planned due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Facebook said it had worked with cryptographers to prevent unwanted guests from dropping into chats.

While the new features will launch for some users in the UK on Friday, it will take several weeks for the update to reach all Facebook members.

Like Houseparty, Messenger Rooms will let people drop in and out of group video chats while the “room” is open.

Rooms can be created via Facebook or Messenger, and the company said it planned to add the feature to Instagram, WhatsApp, and its Portal video-calling devices “soon”.

People creating a Messenger Room will be able to keep their room private, block unwanted participants and send invitations to people who are not on Facebook.

Participants will be able to use augmented reality filters and change their background in real-time.

Publicly discoverable rooms will be listed at the top of the Facebook news feed.

The service was tested in Argentina and Poland, where Facebook Messenger is heavily used. During testing, rooms could support 17 to 20 participants at a time, but Facebook said that number would grow to 50 over the coming weeks.