Facebook launches Zoom rival Room

Anne Freier | April 27, 2020

App Business

Facebook is trying to latch on to the success of video chat app Houseparty by launching its own rival to the app.

Called Room, the new feature aims to bring people together via video chat.

On mobile or desktop, users can start a chat Room and invite friends from their Facebook account. Alternatively, their friends can discover the chat from their News Feed, and Facebook will send automated notifications to your close friends.

The Rooms are currently limited to eight people, but the social media network confirmed that it plans to extend this to 50 users within a matter of weeks.

As the coronavirus situation continues to test people’s emotional health, the app may be a welcome addition. Facebook said it will roll out Rooms on Instagram and WhatsApp too.

Rooms is ad-free for now, although if successful Facebook may monetise the addition just as the company has done with most of its products.

To facilitate better engagement during this time, Facebook announced a few other additions to its product line-up including virtual and 360-degree backgrounds which allow people to set their own backgrounds during video calls.

On WhatsApp, eight users will soon be able to participate in video calls.

Facebook also revamped its Live video feature by making it easier for people to join a Live session and donating to their favourite channels or streaming Live with audio only.

It also added video chatting to its Dating feature.

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