Nairobi News


Facebook rolls out video calling product that holds up to 50 participants

Facebook is rolling out a suite of new products to expand its capabilities in video chat.

The company on Saturday announced Messenger Rooms, a tool for starting virtual hangouts with up to 50 people and allowing friends to drop in on you whenever they like.

It’s also doubling the capacity of video calls on WhatsApp from four people to eight, adding video calls to Facebook Dating, and adding new live-streaming features to both Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the features in a live stream over the weekend saying that video presence was not a new area for the company.

“But it’s an area that we want to go deeper in, and it fits the overall theme, which is that we’re shifting more resources in the company to focus on private communication and private social platforms, rather than just the traditional broader ones. So this is a good mix: we’re building tools into Facebook and Instagram that are helping people find smaller groups of people to then go have more intimate connections with, and be able to have private sessions with,” Zuckerberg said.

The moves come as Covid-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of millions of people to stay indoors and rely on digital tools for nearly all of their work, school, and play.

More than 700 million people are now making calls on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp every day.


Unlike Zoom, other people can join a Messenger Rooms chat without a Facebook account, and there’s support for up to 50 participants.

And you can play around with virtual backgrounds too, Zoom-style.

Zoom was solely created for large corporations and not for social use.

Learning from Zoom’s mistakes that have led to a privacy backlash, Messenger Rooms is already prepared with more controls to avoid such errors.

Rooms include a locking feature that prevents anyone else from joining once a call begins, and admins can remove participants or report them if they believe they have violated Facebook’s community standards.

For participants, you can leave a room at your will.

All these changes are starting to roll out for users across the globe this week.

Keep an eye out for updates to Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp and you should have them before too long.