Facebook has added a wave of new video-calling features to WhatsApp, Messenger and its main app, following increased demand for social video calling.
New Messenger Rooms will let people start group video chats that can be joined by up to 50 people.
The company told the BBC it released the features earlier than planned due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Facebook said it had worked with cryptographers to prevent unwanted guests from dropping into chats.
While the new features will launch for some users in the UK on Friday, it will take several weeks for the update to reach all Facebook members.
Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise in use during the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook said video-calling on Messenger had doubled since last year, in areas most affected by coronavirus.
Rival app Zoom saw daily active users grow to 300 million in April. And Houseparty, owned by Fortnite-maker Epic Games, was downloaded more than two million times at the beginning of March, as the first major US cities issued stay-at-home orders.
Some apps, such as Microsoft Teams, have offered premium features for free during the pandemic.
Facebook’s new Messenger Rooms feature was introduced in a blog post by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, a move usually reserved for its biggest product launches.
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