Another layover from the COVID pandemic is going away, with Facebook announcing that Group Rooms will soon be removed as an option in the app.
As you can see in this notification (shared by social media expert Matt Navarra), Facebook is now informing group admins that Rooms in Facebook groups will be gone as of next month.
Group rooms, which enabled users to create video chats with up to 50 members, were first launched in April 2020, giving people a way to connect amid the expanding COVID lockdowns.
Tapping into the rise of Zoom, Meta sought to provide its own, in-stream engagement tools. Meta then expanded the option to audio rooms in 2021, on the back of the Clubhouse-led social audio wave.
But now, neither version is seeing much usage, so Facebook’s opted to remove group rooms entirely, following on from the broader scaling back of its in-stream connective tools.
It’s actually an interesting reminder of social media trends past. Rooms, which Facebook launched to much hype, did seem to have potential as a valuable way to catch up with friends in the app. Obviously, more so when you couldn’t do that in person, but even beyond COVID, there did seem to be a market fit for the option.
Audio rooms were shorter-lived, but as a lo-fi connective tool for groups, it did seem like it could also be a good way to enhance group engagement, and get more people more aligned to their communities.
Evidently, that hasn’t been the case. And rather than continue allocate resources to support video chats, Meta’s moving on, likely part of its broader cost-cutting measures in its “year of efficiency”.
So, if you used rooms in groups, they’ll soon be no more, though as Meta notes, you will still be able to host video chats via video calls. So not a major impact, but a noteworthy change nonetheless.