Facebook Goes To War With Zoom, With New 50-Person Chat Functionality

Facebook is adding a new feature that allows users to video chat with up to 50 people, a direct competitor to the Zoom and Houseparty video conferencing applications, both of which have seen their use skyrocket due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 Main facts

Messenger Rooms allows users to invite up to 50 people, even those without a Facebook account, to public and private video chat rooms, free of charge and with no time limit.
Facebook has said that this feature will be implemented for certain users on Friday and that it will spread to the rest of the world in the coming weeks.
The lounges will initially be smaller, but the tool will soon be scaled to accommodate up to 50 people, a spokesperson for CNBC said.
Zoom allows video chats to 100 people, but has a time limit of 40 minutes with a free account; Houseparty can accommodate up to eight people.
Facebook pointed out that who creates the lounge controls who can join, who sees the room, and whether new people can join - unlike Zoom, who has faced persistent privacy and security concerns because of the "Zoom bombing".
Zoom's shares, which have increased in recent months, have fallen by more than 5% following the news.

Key context

Facebook has already been criticized for copying the features of its competitors and integrating them into their applications, especially after the launch of Facebook and Instagram stories, using the idea of ​​Snapchat. The company even worked on a standalone group video chat app like Houseparty until it ended the project last year.


Because coronavirus has forced people to rely on video conferencing tools for work, school, and communication with their friends, Zoom and Houseparty have become a fixture during confinement. The number of daily active Zoom users has increased from 10 million to over 200 million in just two months. Houseparty has also seen an increase in the number of its users.


Facebook also announced a series of new video features, including the ability to watch Instagram Live on desktops, video calls on Facebook Dating, and video calls on WhatsApp from four to eight people.
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