WhatsApp tipped for big new feature to compete with Zoom and Skype

WhatsApp is believed to be working on a new feature that would help it compete with the likes of Zoom, Skype and Facebook Messenger.

While WhatsApp remains the world’s most popular messaging app with over two billion users, it loses out when it comes to video calling.

Zoom and Skype have surged in popularity during the coronavirus crisis because of the ability to video chat with multiple people at once – making them solid choices for business meetings and virtual events with family and friends.

Now it’s been tipped that WhatsApp will add a similar ability by updating the number of participants in a group call.

At the moment, WhatsApp is limited to four people at once but according to noted WhatsApp tipster WaBetaInfo that will soon be increased to eight.

The famously accurate WhatsApp blog states this is already available in the beta version of the app and will soon be rolled out to the wider user base.

Metro.co.uk has reached out to WhatsApp for confirmation of this change and we’ll update this article if we receive a response.

The option to add more people to a WhatsApp group chat seems particularly sensible at the moment as the coronavirus lockdown continues to push millions around the world into remote working.

The Facebook-owned messaging app has already made a substantial change due to the coronavirus by limiting the amount of times a message can be forwarded.

In the past, a message that had been ‘frequently forwarded’ (meaning it has been passed on up to five times and is denoted by a double arrow symbol) could be sent onwards to up to five chats simultaneously. WhatsApp now says that users will only be able to pass these messages on to one chat at a time.

‘As a private messaging service, we’ve taken several steps over the years to help keep conversations intimate,’ WhatsApp explained in a blog post.

‘For example, we previously set limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality, which led to a 25% decrease in message forwards globally at the time.

‘Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organise public moments of support for frontline health workers.

‘However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.’

The app is also currently working with NGOs and governments around the world as well as the World Health Organisation to try and make sure that users only get accurate information.

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