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Facebook Messenger just added group video messaging

Another week, another video push out of Facebook headquarters.

Facebook introduces group video chat to Messenger.
Source: Facebook
Facebook introduces group video chat to Messenger.

Last week, Facebook added a new camera to its standalone messaging app, Messenger. Now it's giving users something to do with that camera.

Messenger is rolling out group video chatting, the company announced Monday. The app will support video for up to six different users at once.

This idea plays into a larger push Facebook is making around visual communication — that is, sharing more photos and videos. On the company's last earnings call in November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that text-based communication would soon take a back seat to more visual options.

"In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share," Zuckerberg said on the call. "Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share."

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Enter group video chats.

The new feature is less-than-stellar news for a handful of video messaging apps currently attracting attention from Silicon Valley's venture capital community.

Most notable in this space is probably Houseparty, a group messaging app from the same company that built livestreaming app Meerkat. Houseparty seems to have some momentum, and just raised $50 million from Sequoia Capital (among others). But Facebook was a big reason Meerkat abandoned livestreaming, and now Facebook is encroaching on the company's turf once again.

Sean Parker's Airtime video messaging company, plus video messaging apps like Benchmark-backed Marco Polo and Sequoia-backed Tribe, will no doubt be watching Messenger closely, too.

The update will start rolling out to iOS and Android users worldwide beginning Monday.

By Kurt Wagner, Recode.net.

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