WhatsApp update: New feature aims to compete with Zoom, FaceTime and Meet

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

WhatsApp has introduced a new feature that lets users share a direct link to video calls.

The update, called Call Links, will now appear at the top of the Calls tab at the top of the list. Tapping the button will create an audio or video call as Meta – WhatsApp’s parent company – now catching up to Google Meet and Zoom, and Apple’s Facetime.

Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced the feature in a Facebook post, where he added that video calling now supports up to 32 people. WhatsApp currently can only allow calls of up to eight people.

 (Meta)
(Meta)

Many video calling competitors have limitations on their call capabilities, such as only being able to take a call for a limited time. WhatsApp has not yet indicated that it will be placing any restrictions on calls, which could make it a more attractive option for the platforms billion-strong user base.

This new update comes one month after WhatsApp brought out new privacy features: blocking screenshots of messages that are set to the ‘view once’ mode – meaning they disappear after being sent; managing who can see when a user is online; and silently leaving groups without sending an alert to everyone in the chat.

Meta is also reportedly bringing new paid features to Instagram and Facebook, which Mr Zuckerberg says will “help creators build for the metaverse”.

This includes monetising Instagram Reels, and cross-posting them to Facebook.

Other platforms are taking similar measures. Twitter has “Super Follows” that will allow people to lock their posts behind a paywall to be accessible only to paying followers.

TikTok has begun testing its paid Live Subscription feature for creators, the short video company announced in May, while Snapchat has a premium version of its app with special features called Snapchat Plus.