Facebook launches a new videoconferencing service to compete with Zoom

Facebook said that Messenger Rooms will soon allow video calls of up to fifty people
Facebook

REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE  -   Facebook

Facebook launched this Friday a new teleconference service, Messenger Rooms, which joins those already offered by the social network company and is designed to compete with the boom experienced by Zoom because of the restrictions on mobility by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook said that Messenger Rooms will soon allow video calls of up to fifty people (Messenger calls - owned by Facebook- currently only allow eight participants), although for the moment that number is smaller and the limit is different for each user.

As in the case of Zoom, Messenger Rooms users can invite other Internet users to join the video calls through a link that can be shared both on the mobile and on the computer, and there is no need to download any application or create an account (it is therefore possible to participate without having a Facebook account).

The new service is completely free, has no time limit for video conferences and includes features such as augmented reality and image and colour filters.

The Facebook announcement comes two days after Zoom, which until the health crisis was a minor and relatively unknown application, reached 300 million users due to the large increase in activity in March and April.

The success and sudden growth of Zoom as a result of the increase in teleworking and digital classes has been accompanied by many complaints about failures in communication security and little respect for the privacy of users.

One of the most common problems that its users are encountering is that uninvited Internet users appear by surprise in teleconferences, a phenomenon known as 'zoombing', which has led to educational institutions, governments and companies stopping using the platform and, in the case of Google, even prohibiting their employees from doing so.

In addition to Zoom, Messenger Rooms will have to compete with other popular applications from rivals such as Microsoft (which owns, among others, Skype), Cisco, Google, Apple and Houseparty.