Facebook will bring back voice and video calling to some users in an attempt to refine the social network’s communications features after it spun off Messenger as a separate app in 2014.
Selected users, including some in the U.S., will be able to make voice or video calls from the Facebook app starting 30 August 2021. Connor Hayes, Director of Product Management at Messenger, stated that this function will be rolled out to test if it can serve as a way to lessen the need for users to switch between Facebook and Messenger.
The upcoming test feature is a part of Facebook’s moves to combine all of its apps and services. Critics believe that Facebook is integrating its services so that it would be difficult to break up the tech giant. Recently, U.S. regulators filed an antitrust lawsuit in an attempt to push Facebook to spin off Instagram and WhatsApp.
In related news, Facebook rolled out the option for end-to-end encrypted voice and video calls on Messenger. End-to-end encryption is a technology that prevents third parties from accessing private conversations. Since 2016, Facebook has allowed users to tighten the security of direct messages on the messaging service with end-to-end encryption.
Within the past year alone, the company saw a rise in audio and video calling as over 150 million video calls a day were made on Messenger. Facebook stated that the optional security measure can help protect users communicating with family and friends via call.
Facebook similarly updated the expiring messages function in end-to-end encrypted chats to let users decide when disappearing messages will be removed from the chat history. This means that they can choose the amount of time before all new messages will vanish. The options are as short as five seconds and as long as 24 hours.
Written by Sophia Lopez