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Facebook offers to “jump in” with friends via “spontaneous” video calls

Unlike the platforms originally planned for professional meetings, such as Zoom or Teams (Microsoft), Messenger Rooms is a friendly social space for birthdays, aperitifs, book clubs, parent groups.

A new service when a large part of the planet is confined. Facebook launched, on Friday, April 24, Messenger Rooms, which allows you to find your friends in “rooms” virtual. Video calls can accommodate up to 50 people, and last as long as desired. A tool to compete with Zoom, the video conferencing software that has conquered millions of homebound users due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The idea is to be able “to jump” at someone's home, Mark Zuckerberg, the head of the global social network, told AFP. “It's designed to be spontaneous. I can just keep a window open and people I might not have bothered to call can jump in there.”, he detailed. “I think that's what we're missing right now. ” Participants will not need to have a Facebook account. If they do not have the application, the link sent by a friend will open a page on their internet browser. The new interface will include augmented reality effects (rabbit or alien ears, etc.), as well as backgrounds, like on Zoom, to give the false impression that we are at the beach, for example.

While Zoom is chaining security issues, Facebook said it has built strong defenses against this kind of risk. “There are tools to expel people easily. We can lock the room or close it if it goes wrong”said Mark Zuckerberg. Stan Chudnovsky, vice president of Messenger, said Facebook would not watch or listen to calls.

The Californian group intends to add the possibility of creating “rooms” from its Instagram and WhatsApp applications, and to use its range of Portal connected screens. It will also double to eight the number of participants simultaneously in a video call on WhatsApp, even if it is more technically complicated, since this platform is encrypted from start to finish (from one user to another, and not just the software in itself). “It's not an easy task, so it's very exciting”, enthuses Mark Zuckerberg.

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