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Facebook’s ‘Messenger Rooms’ Set To Take On Houseparty And Zoom

Facebook has launched ‘Messenger Rooms’, which will expand the number of people users can have on a group video call on Messenger from eight people to 50, with no time limit on calls. For now, users will be able to start and share rooms on Facebook Messenger, but the company plans on adding Messenger Rooms to Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal in the near future too.

Call hosts will be able to invite people without a Facebook account to the call via a link, and attendees will not have to create a Facebook account to be a part of the call.

In the past week Facebook has also launched ‘Messenger Kids’, which is designed to help kids stay in touch in a parentally supervised environment, and announced ‘Facebook Dating’, which will allow users to invite others on virtual dates.

While many companies will likely choose to continue to make video conference calls on apps such as Skype and Microsoft Teams, this development may take more of Houseparty and Zoom’s market share.

Facebook is likely trying to share in Zoom’s boom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being plagued with lawsuits and security criticisms, Zoom’s number of daily users has surged to 300 million. It’s not the only one either.

Google, meanwhile, changed its video conferencing platform ‘Meet’ to look more like the Zoom interface in mid-April, according to Motley Fool.

Houseparty is another controversial firm that has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 crisis. In March 2020 Houseparty hacking reports were rampant, with banks having customers come forward claiming that their account had been hacked via the Houseparty app. The company has strongly denied these stories, however.

Houseparty instead took the “it’s a smear campaign” stance. In late March they released a tweet saying: “We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumours were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty. We are offering a $1,000,000 bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign to [email protected].”

Business of Apps estimated that 17.2 million people downloaded the Houseparty app in March 2020.

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