Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was rolling out a feature that would allow users to broadcast live a video call with up to 50 people. Users can invite people to join “Messenger Rooms”, including those who do not have a Facebook account, for group video calls and then broadcast the room live on any profile, page or group on the platform, the company said.
The move bolsters Facebook’s efforts to grab a share of the coronavirus-driven boom in demand for video conferencing services, which has turned Zoom Video Communications Inc into a household name. Other technology companies have rolled out similar features to attract users, with Alphabet Inc’s Google allowing users to host free video conferences on Meet.
Facebook said it was rolling out the feature in some countries on its platform and Messenger web starting Thursday and would soon expand to all countries where Messenger Rooms was available. Live broadcasts from Facebook pages doubled in June compared with a year earlier due to a jump in live streams since March, when several countries began imposing lockdowns and social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.