Facebook Messenger said on Thursday that its launching a new desktop app, a move that comes as more people use the social network’s messaging service for calls since the start of the new coronavirus outbreak.
You can now use Messenger in a desktop browser by logging into the main social network, but now there is a separate desktop app. The new product is an example of how Facebook has responded to the increase in video and audio calls as more people stay at home and distance themselves.
New Facebook Messenger can also help the company to compete with other services people use for video chat, including Zoom, Apple’s FaceTime, Google’s Hangouts, and Microsoft’s own Skype. Zoom has faced a number of security and privacy issues because trolls interrupt porn conversations or harass users.
“Now more than ever, people are using technology to stay in touch with the people they care about, even when physically apart,” said Stan Chudnovsky, who manages Facebook Messenger, in a blog post.
In the past month, Facebook saw an increase of more than 100% in the number of people using their desktop browsers for audio and video calling on Messenger, the company said. Users can download the app from the Microsoft Store or Mac App Store. Group video calls are free and unlimited. The desktop app has the same features as the mobile app, including dark mode, GIF and notifications.