Facebook launched a new live video conferencing service on Friday, as millions of people remain confined to their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Messenger Rooms service lets up to 50 users participate in a video chat at once, a feature similar to Zoom and Houseparty, two apps that have exploded in popularity over the last few months.

“Video presence isn’t just about calling someone,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a livestream on Friday.

“It is starting to be a fundamental building block of a private social platform with lots of new use cases,” he said.

Messenger Rooms will be free and won’t have a time limit, the social media giant announced.

Zoom can accommodate up to 1,000 people in each call but limits calls to 40 minutes without a paid subscription.

Facebook also announced Friday that is it doubling the capacity of video calls on WhatsApp from four to eight participants and incorporating video calls into Facebook Dating.

The tech giant is not the only company to enter the video conferencing arena after the strong growth of Zoom, which reported 200 million daily users in March compared to 10 million in December. 

Google made its video chatting app Meet more accessible through Gmail this month, while Verizon last week also acquired videoconferencing service BlueJeans Network.

Tags Facebook Mark Zuckerberg videoconferencing Zoom

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