Facebook has launched a whole range of new video messaging and live streaming features across their various channels and apps referred to as “Facebook Messenger Rooms”, looking to take advantage of the growing usage of people working from home and the exponential growth of video conferencing platforms. The step advances multiple branches of Facebook’s growth strategy, from platform-wide engagement boosting to cross-company integration development.
Facebook is looking to capitalize on the amount of companies and schools who are all currently working from home and educating students via popular video conference platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Not only will they be throwing their hat in the video calling and messaging ring, but they will be able to integrate “Messenger Rooms” with a lot of their other already successful apps. According to BusinessInsider, Facebook is looking to integrate the new “Rooms” feature in their other successful apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, FacebookGaming, and Portal to expand their grasp on this growing market.
“Messenger Rooms” will attempt to challenge Zoom, Google Meets and Hangout, and other video conferencing platforms with their calls allowing up to 50 participants at once. Also, you do not need a Facebook profile to join these conversations. You can start the video calls through their messenger app or through your facebook profile. Another unique feature Facebook has added are “open hangouts”; If a Facebook community or event has a video chat going on, other users inside or who are also members of the same group or community will be shown the conversation in their News Feed, enabling them to also join the call if they wish. It is another way Facebook has added emphasis to groups and communities in hopes of attracting more engagement from users in general.
Facebook has been looking for a way to reconnect and draw back users of the platform who have ignored it and pushed it aside for other forms of social networking and social media. Zuckerberg’s statements of focusing on groups and events at 2019’s F8 conference fall in line with this new approach Facebook has been taking of the emphasis being on the community and community engagement. Their hopes are that these groups and communities will use their new video conferencing features and technology to connect at a time when everyone is in lockdown. It will be interesting to see how impactful Facebook’s entry into the video conferencing market is for their own user engagement and against competitors like Zoom and Google.
Both Zoom and Facebook have individually had their issues with data privacy and security. Zoom right now on top of their lack of ability to deal with “zoombombings” have three lawsuits filed against them. Companies, government agencies, military agencies, and more have banned their employees from using Zoom. Zoom themselves had originally built their platform on a Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK) and were unintentionally sending their users’ data to Facebook. Facebook themselves have an extensive history with failing to protect their users’ privacy and security, just last week 267 million facebook users’ names, addresses, email addresses, birthdays, and more were on sale for a mere $600. Both companies history of data privacy and security is shaky at best, but it is tough to imagine Facebook will not have similar issues that Zoom is currently facing.