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Facebook introduces messenger rooms, more ways to connect with people virtually

… To expand WhatsApp group voice, video calls to take eight people

Due to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, Facebook recently introduced new products that will make it easier for people to virtually connect and spend quality time with loved ones.

The company said last Friday, 24 April 2020, that it had taken time to monitor 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.

Facebook therefore announced features across its products that make video chat and live video more easy, useful and natural.

One of the new features are Messenger Rooms which 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. According to Facebook, “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 says it will soon add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct and WhatsApp too.

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Users can join from both mobile and desktop application. 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.

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. Facebook has promised that 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.