Facebook has launched a new service called "Messenger Rooms" to cater to the increasing demand for virtual business meetings and web conferences during Covid-19 lockdowns across the world.
The service, which is already available in Bangladesh, was announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday for selected markets.
This service allows 50 people to join a free video conference at once without any time limitations, compared to only eight people in a regular messenger group call, according to a company statement.
Furthermore, all participants do not need a Facebook or Messenger account, nor do they need to download any additional app to join the conference because Facebook users can share links enabling non-users to join via a web browser.
Although Zoom – currently the most popular app for videoconferencing worldwide – allows up to 100 people in a meeting room, the free version of the app only allows 40-minute conferences.
According to Facebook, more than 700 million accounts participate in calls every day using WhatsApp and Messenger. In many countries, video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled, and views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live videos increased significantly, in March.
People in the tech industry believe that in a country like Bangladesh, such Facebook services have a huge potential as a large number of internet users are registered on the social media platform.
They said the new service is likely to give hard competition to other services like Zoom, "Meet Now" on Skype, and Microsoft Teams.
"The technological awareness ecosystem in Bangladesh is very Facebook-friendly, and with a decent quality service, Rooms has a huge potential here," said Sumon Ahmed Sabir, chief technology officer of Fiber@Home.
To create a Facebook Messenger Room, the user has to open the Messenger app and tap the "People" tab at the bottom right of the screen. Then the user has to tap on the "Create a Room" tab and select the people they want to join the meeting.
In order to add people who do not have a Facebook account, the user has to share the link with them. The link can also be shared on News Feed, Groups and Events.