Facebook has a reputation of cloning emerging social media apps it considers to be causing a menace to its business. And now, it seems the popular live group video chat app Houseparty is also grabbing the company’s attention.
In accordance with some vague sources, Facebook is building a standalone app for live group video chats that scrounges heavily from Houseparty. Dubbed Bonfire, the app is said to be lined up for launch by the fall of this year after going through the beta testing with the company’s employees lately.
Launched in September last year, the Houseparty live group video chat app rose from the ashes of Meerkat. Ben Rubin, co-founder of Meerkat and developer of Life On Air, observed that most people broadcasted not more than a few times – whether on Meerkat or its rivals such as Twitter-owned Periscope and Facebook Live. And then, Rubin and his team moved to group video chat from live streaming and released the Houseparty app.
Just like Snapchat, the app instantly took off among teenagers. Indeed, it gained a user base of more than a million by November 2016. For Facebook, numerous viable threats are as worrisome as a new social platform cultivating hastily among teens. That’s why the company first tried to get hold of Snapchat and once rebuffed, it invested heavily in cloning its features. Given that the Houseparty app is currently one of the top 200 apps in Apple’s US App Store, the continuous growth of the app seems to be a boulder in the Facebook’s way.
Perhaps that’s the reason, Facebook is building a Houseparty clone for live group video chat. Right now, a Facebook spokesperson declined to provide any details about its live group video chat app.
“We don’t have anything to share at this time.”
However, one person described it as basically a Houseparty clone. If that’s the case, the Bonfire launch could pose a magnificent challenge for Rubin’s team.
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Some sources indicate that Bonfire is not the only standalone live group video chat app Facebook is pursuing. Another app called Talk is also shown by some employees. Although details were inadequate, one source said Bonfire is intended for encouraging younger people to communicate with their grandparents using this live group video chat app.