Facebook Launches New Video Chat Feature

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. carry on / ˈkæri ɑn / (phrasal) – to continue

    Our company decided to carry on with our operations even during holidays.

  2. stay in touch / steɪ ɪn tʌʧ / (idiom) – to maintain connection or contact with someone

    Technology helps people stay in touch even if they live in different countries.

  3. revamped / riˈvæmpt / (adj) – having improved appearance or function

    The revamped vintage car looks brand new.

  4. integrate / ˈɪn tɪˌgreɪt / (v) – to make something a part of another thing

    Security features will be integrated into the new smartphone model.

  5. surge / sɜrdʒ / (n) – a sudden increase in something

    A lot of motorists are worried about the expected surge in gas prices next month.


Read the text below.

Social media company Facebook recently introduced Messenger Rooms, a new feature that allows as many as 50 people to communicate in a video chat room.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are relying on virtual platforms to carry on with their social activities. Sensing the need for millions of people to stay in touch online, Facebook launched its revamped video chat feature last April.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wanted to develop a group video chat feature that feels less corporate than competitors’ video chat platforms. Messenger Rooms is currently only available on Facebook, but it will eventually expand to WhatsApp and Instagram.

Messenger Rooms users will have access to free unlimited video chat even if they do not have Facebook accounts, as long as they have downloaded Facebook’s Messenger app. People can create chat rooms, invite others to join these rooms, and jump from one room to another to interact with different groups.

Facebook’s augmented reality filters are also integrated into the new feature, enabling users to apply virtual backgrounds and adjust their lighting.

Before Facebook launched Messenger Rooms, video chat app Zoom experienced a surge in its users from just 10 million in December 2019 to over 300 million at present. An increase in its users caused Zoom to encounter privacy issues, with hackers disrupting Zoom meetings.

Zuckerberg assured that Messenger Rooms will not encounter the same problems that Zoom did. He added that the platform was designed with secure privacy settings, and users can control who they want to include or exclude from chat rooms.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Facebook’s Messenger Rooms will become more popular than Zoom? Why or why not?
• Do you feel confident about Zuckerberg’s assurance that Messenger Rooms will not encounter the same problems that Zoom did? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think video calls will be the main form of communication in the near future? Why or why not?
• Aside from multi-user features, free unlimited video chat, and AR filters, what else would you like to be added to video calls in the future? Discuss.