Facebook Messenger adds group AR effects and games to video calls

They're coming to Instagram, too.


Facebook Messenger's augmented reality effects are no longer limited to individuals. The social media company has introduced a Group Effects feature that, as the name implies, enables AR effects for everyone in a video call. Some of the 70-plus effects are just for giggles (such as giving everyone a beard), but others are shared experiences like games. You can compete to build a hamburger, if you're so inclined.

The feature is available today in both regular Messenger calls and Messenger Rooms, and should be "coming soon" to Instagram. If you have the option, you can tap the smiley icon in a group call to pick Group Effects.

The addition could help Facebook compete against Snapchat and others that have had AR games for a while. It might help Facebook shift its focus to the metaverse, for that matter. If nothing else, it's an acknowledgment that group video chat is still important even as the pandemic (hopefully) winds down. Shared AR may help you keep in touch with distant friends more effectively than basic face-to-face chats.