On Thursday, June 23, 2020, Facebook announced a new feature that allows users to live broadcast video calls with up to 50 participants.
This feature will combine with the company’s video live streaming product, making it possible for large audiences to tune in and watch group video calls in real-time. This ability to broadcast live video calls is one of the biggest updates that Facebook has given to the video calling product since it was launched in April.
Facebook’s Messenger Rooms allows anyone with a Facebook account to create a video call and invite their friends to join, even if those participants are not Facebook users. People who are not Facebook users can join meetings from their web browsers. Facebook mentioned that it will collect information from them, namely what device and browser they are using, ask them to share their names so that they can identify themselves in the meetings.
These video calls will include events like speaker panels, TV show reunions, and networking events. Users creating Messenger Rooms can broadcast calls from their profile, Facebook page, or a Facebook Group. They will control who participates in the calls and who can view broadcasts.
Facebook allows“Call Locking” to prevent “Zoombombing” pranks
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These creators can also add or remove participants, and can also lock calls to prevent any zoombombing pranks, wherein unwanted intruders were known to disrupt meetings with racist harassments and other pranks. This was one of the security concerns that users of Zoom faced but with user authentication, Zoom improved had improved on its security.
For security and privacy, Facebook has said that it will not listen to or watch any video and audio calls, but it will collect from Messenger Rooms. This data will be useful to them to provide better service and further improve the product experience. The company has also specified that it won’t run ads in rooms, and audio and video won’t be used for ad targeting.
Facebook’s live video call launched in a few countries with a planned expansion to other regions
With the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of people are stuck at home. Connecting to work, school, family, and friends are increasingly done through video conferencing and Zoom with its immense popularity has around 300 million people participating in meetings on its platforms every day.
Although Facebook has launched this update in a few countries on Thursday, it will roll out to other regions where Messenger Rooms are available, competing with both Zoom and Google Meet.