- Facebook, the social network with 2 billion monthly users, started testing its group video chat app Bonfire in Denmark, The Next Web reported. The mobile app has been described in media reports this year, and now is available on Apple’s App Store for only the Scandinavian country.
- Bonfire lets users decorate themselves with filters and masks and share pictures from video chats on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
- “We’re running a very small test in Denmark of an app we call Bonfire. We have nothing further to share at this time,” Facebook said to The Next Web in a statement. So far, it's been downloaded about 2,000 times, according to Apptopia data cited by The Next Web.
Facebook has successfully copied many of the features of Snapchat, the image-messaging service that grew rapidly among millennial and teenage audiences, in an effort to engage its users on Instagram. The Bonfire app appears to be Facebook’s response to Houseparty, a group video chat app also popular among mobile teens.
A description of the app in the app store says it is available in French, Danish and English. Users can video chat with up to 8 friends and their friends, play with effects and take pictures of their video chats, according to the description.
Teens are a group that Facebook has had to work particularly hard to retain as it has grown, with these consumers displaying a tendency to quickly move on to the next trendy platform once the current fad has been discovered by others.
So far, Facebook’s efforts to copy the services of rivals seem to be effective at stifling their growth, likely because of the social media giant's large global user base. Snapchat’s audience has stalled out at about 166 million users, while Instagram has grown to about 700 million users. Of Instagram’s audience, about 250 million are using Instagram Stories, which resembles the Snapchat Stories feature for stringing together multiple images and videos into one post.
Houseparty can also be seen as part of Facebook’s general push into video content. Facebook is planning to spend $1 billion on original video content by the end of next year to engage audiences for longer periods and to grow ad sales among major brands, The Wall Street Journal reported.