Facebook 2020 Updates: Messenger Rooms, New Live Video Features, Virtual Events + Expands WhatsApp Group Calls
With more than 700 million people participating in video chats every day, the demand for real-time video connection is at an all time high. These numbers continue to grow after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic mandated many stay at home orders across the world.
Facebook reports video calls have more than doubled and views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live videos increased significantly over the last month.
With the popularity and rise in brand equity of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and HouseParty, Mark Zuckerberg announced his rendition of each, much like he did with Instagram Stories back in 2016 in response to Snapchat stories thanks to an 18-year-old developer, Michael Sayman.
My favorite take aways from Zuckerberg video announcement is the ability to share an Instagram Live to IGTV once it’s completed as well as the Live video integration into events, allowing users to seemlessly create virtual events–and even charge for them!
What is Messenger Rooms?
Messenger Rooms allow you to create a private multi user video conference stream from the Messenger app or Facebook. Zuckerberg announced ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal are on the way as well.
Once fully launched, Rooms will be able to hold up to 50 people with no time limit.
Click here for how to use and start Messenger Rooms.
Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week and will expand to the rest of the world in coming weeks.
Expanding WhatsApp Group Calls
Facebook’s WhatsApp is getting an upgrade with WhatsApp group video and voice calls increasing to eight users.
Zuckerberg took time to note, 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!
Media outlets, celebrities, influencers and just about everyone you know are taking to Facebook Live and Instagram Live for interviews, battles, workout classes, cooking lessons, church services and more.
To much dismay, may users are met with a ton of limitations like issues with saving live videos or not being able to have someone join a Facebook Live like Instagram Live and typically seek to use third party integrations like OBS, StreamYard or other apps to create a quality stream.
In true Zuck fashion, Mark wasn’t going to let this happen and tasked his events team to focus on creating solutions to meet these demands ASAP. Check out the updates below.
Facebook Updates April 2020:
- A feature originally rolled out some years ago is back, and I’m hella excited about is Live With. Facebook’s Live With allows users to add another person into their live video, no matter where they are in the world.
- Virtual Facebook Events are now a thing, AND you can charge an entry fee! Users will be able to mark Facebook Events as online only and, in the coming weeks, integrate Facebook Live so you can broadcast to the guests. Click here for more.
- To support creators and small businesses, Facebook plans 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.
- Audio Only Facebook Lives. For those who’ve been on terrible wifi or limited data Facebook is making easier to access or listen anywhere with an audio only option.
- If a user doesn’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.
- Gaming Integration: Users can livestream games from their 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, Facebook is 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.
Instagram Updates April 2020:
The two biggest updates are the ability to watch an Instagram Live on a desktop computer and the option to save an Instagram Live to IGTV. Many users discovered the ability to watch an IG Live on a computer or laptop during the BabyFace and Teddy Riley Verzuz battle (part two-because Chile no one stuck around for that first joint). This great for those who live tweet along with the broadcast which has been increasing popular when DJ DNice started his Club Quarantine IG lives.
- You can now watch and comment on live videos from your desktop.
- After you go live, you’ll 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. This is huge for broadcasters, influencers, artists and alike.
- 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. Facebook 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
Facebook continues their mission to help people find meaningful relationships even when they can’t meet in person. They are adding an option in Facebook Dating to invite people to a virtual date– great for this in quarantine or long distance dating. This feature bites off of Bumble’s virtual date campaign recently endorsed by rapper Common and comedian/actress Tiffany Haddish going on a date for the world to see.
When a user accepts, you’ll start a video chat in Messenger to get to know each other. Facebook plans to roll out in the coming months.
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