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Facebook’s products have always been about connecting people. Over the years we’ve focused on how to help people feel present with one another even when they’re not in the same place. Today, video helps most of us bridge the distance. Tomorrow, we’ll be turning to more immersive platforms like AR and VR.
Lately, Facebook has felt the demand for real-time video. Between WhatsApp and Messenger, more than 700 million accounts participate in calls every day. In many countries, video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled, and views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live videos increased significantly in March. But there’s more to do to make real-time feel real.
Spending time with each other should be spontaneous, not strained. So to help people feel like they’re together, even when they are — or have to be — physically apart, we’re announcing features across our products that make video chat and live video easier and more natural.
Introducing Messenger Rooms
Messenger Rooms make it easy to spend quality time with friends, loved ones, and people who share your interests. Create a room right from Messenger or Facebook, and invite anyone to join your video call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Rooms will soon hold up to 50 people with no time limit.
Host celebrations, gather a book club, or just hang out on the couch with friends. You don’t need to call someone and hope it’s a good time or checks everyone’s calendar first. You can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups, and Events, so it’s easy for people to drop by. Soon we’ll add ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Portal, too.
If your friends or communities create rooms that are open to you, you’ll see them on Facebook so you can find things to do and people to hang out with. When you’re invited to a room, you can join from your phone or computer — no need to download anything to get started. If you have the Messenger app, you can play with AR effects like bunny ears, and new AI-powered features like immersive 360 backgrounds and mood lighting.
When you create a room, you choose who can see and join it. You can remove people from the call and lock a room if you don’t want anyone else to enter. About the controls you have and how we built Rooms with privacy and security in mind.
Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in the coming weeks.
Expanding WhatsApp Group Calls
WhatsApp calls are another way to stay in touch. Soon you’ll be able to have group voice and video calls with up to eight people on WhatsApp. As before, these calls are secured with end-to-end encryption so no one else can view or listen to your private conversation, not even WhatsApp.
New Live Video Features for Facebook, Instagram, and Portal
People are turning to Facebook Live and Instagram Live for workout classes, cooking lessons, faith services, and more, so we’re adding features to make them even more useful.
- We’re bringing back Live With so you can add another person into your live video, no matter where they are in the world. Bring on a guest speaker, interview an expert, or perform with a friend.
- You’ll be able to mark Facebook Events as online only and, in the coming weeks, integrate Facebook Live so you can broadcast to your guests. To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.
- To help you raise money for causes, you can now add the donate button to live videos wherever nonprofit fundraisers are available.
- We’re making it easier to access live video so you can watch or listen anywhere. If you have limited data or a spotty connection, you now have the option to listen to the audio-only. If you don’t have a Facebook account, most public live videos are now available on the web and some Pages can share a toll-free number that lets you listen to the audio through any telephone.
- You can Livestream games from your phone to Facebook using the new Facebook Gaming app available on Google Play. The app also lets you play games instantly, watch your favorite streamers, and discover new gaming groups. Tournaments are another new feature for game streaming that lets you create, play, and watch the competition in one spot. Tournaments are available on Facebook today and coming to the Facebook Gaming app soon.
- To help you support some of your favorite creators, we’re expanding Stars to more Pages and more countries. Once you buy Stars you can send them to creators while they’re streaming, and they’ll earn 1 cent for every Star.
- You can now watch and comment on live videos from your desktop. Follow along with that yoga class on a bigger screen or listen to a live performance as you work.
- After you go live, you’ll soon be able to save your videos to IGTV so they stick around longer than the 24-hour limit in Stories and are easier for others to find.
- You’ll soon be able to go live from Portal to Facebook Pages and Groups. The Facebook Live app on Portal already lets you broadcast to your profile, but later this month you’ll be able to share with your communities, too. Whether you’re sharing a make-up or baking tutorial or hosting a more intimate conversation, Portal’s AI-powered Smart Camera can be your personal cinematographer, keeping you perfectly framed, so you can stay present in the moment.
Messenger Kids Global Expansion and New Features
Messenger Kids can help kids stay in touch with friends and family in a fun, parentally-supervised environment. We started expanding the free video calling and messaging app to more than 70 countries and adding new options to help parents connect kids with their friends.
Set Up a Virtual Date in Facebook Dating
To help people find meaningful relationships even when they can’t meet in person, we’re adding an option in Facebook Dating to invite people to a virtual date. When they accept, you’ll start a video chat in Messenger to get to know each other. This will roll out in the coming months.