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New video tools from Facebook including Messenger Rooms

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, presented new video tools coming to Facebook apps via Facebook Live stream. As video usage increases around the world due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, these updates are very welcome.

Zuckerberg outlined these main video presence platforms: 

  • Video Calling 
  • Video Rooms
  • Live Video

Video Calling

Video calling is the most used type of video interaction around the world today. Facebook will be catering to the demand to include more participants on group calls. Whatsapp video calling will now allow up to 8 participants at one time. Zuckerberg touted that Whatsapp has the best end to end encryption for calls. Group video chat options have seen a 10x increase in usage during COVID-19.

Facebook Messenger currently allows up to 6 participants on video chat with up to 50 people on audio-only mode. Messenger is now adding effects tools for your video chats such as 360 virtual backgrounds and “Mood Lighting” effects. Test out the various options while chatting with friends.

Video usage also increased among kids now that schools have closed. Messenger Kids has grown to 7 million active users, a +3.5x increase since the pandemic, Zuckerberg reported. 

For those who are looking for love during the pandemic, Facebook Dating is making it easier to get to know your dates. Get ready for ~virtual dates~ with your matches via video chats on Facebook Dating. 

Video Rooms

Most noteworthy is a new product from Facebook called Messenger Rooms. This is Facebook’s response to the increased popularity of video meeting apps like Zoom. Messenger Rooms will be hosted on Facebook Messenger and across all Facebook apps. Anyone with the URL link can join the Messenger Room. Zuckerberg emphasized that you do not need a Facebook account to join. It is not necessary to schedule the meeting ahead of time like on competitor apps. Messenger Rooms can accommodate up to 50 people at a time and there is no time limit on how long a Room can run.

We will know more about Messenger Rooms as the product becomes available. Zuckerberg explained Rooms can be used as a virtual meeting space, to catch up with friends by “dropping into a Room”. You can start a Room at any time. Join from an active listing displayed at the top of your News Feed like Facebook Stories. He clarified you can make Rooms private to keep out Facebook friends you do not wish to connect with. Messenger Rooms will also integrate with Facebook Events. We look forward to trying out these new features. This could mean new possibilities for event attendee engagement. 

Live Video

Zuckerberg noted that Live Video is the video tool least used by people but most viewed. Mochee has used Live Video tools for clients to bring events online while stay at home orders are in place. 

One feature Mochees are definitely excited about is the return of Facebook’s “Live with”. Facebook removed this option last year to “Go Live” with two people during a Live stream. Instagram currently offers the option to go live with two people as well. The options to include more people in live streams are highly-demanded as we social distance. 

On the Facebook Events side, Zuckerberg shared that their team is pivoting. They will aid in setting up live streams for large events and Messenger Rooms for smaller events as events go virtual. These features will definitely come in handy for Mochee as we transition events to go online. Even more, the ability to charge for live events is also coming to Facebook Events. We look forward to testing this feature with our clients that need support during this pandemic. 

Instagram Live

One of Facebook’s most popular apps is Instagram. This “mobile-first” app still has very limited features on their desktop application. We welcome the recent desktop updates such as Direct Messages and now, the ability to view Instagram Lives. Finally, we can stream our favorite Live workouts on a larger screen than our phones! We hope the much-needed options to post stories, upload posts, and go Live on Instagram desktop are coming soon. 

Mochees are not the only ones enjoying and producing live streams. 800 million active users engage daily with live video across Facebook’s apps. We look forward to the release of all video tool updates to test and put to use for our clients. As Zuckerberg said, we can, “adapt to do the right things and get through this together”. 

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