WhatsApp, Facebook-owned instant messaging platform, has increased the limit on the number of participants allowed to use its video call feature from four to eight.
The platform, while announcing this in a blog post on Tuesday, said the decision comes as users continue to seek more effective ways to connect with their families amid COVID-19 lockdown.
It said users would now be required to update to the latest version of WhatsApp available on iPhone or Android to access the new changes which also affect the participant count for voice calls.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of us are isolated from friends and family. People all over the world are turning to voice and video calling on WhatsApp more than ever before,” the company said.
“Group calling has been useful and our users have asked to connect with more people at once. We’re doubling the number of participants you can have on a WhatsApp video or voice call from 4 to 8 people at a time.
“Over the last month, people on average are spending over 15 billion minutes talking each day on WhatsApp calls, well above a typical day before the pandemic. And just like written messages, all those calls are protected with end-to-end encryption.
“We have built group calling in a way that makes it available for as many users as possible, including people on lower-end devices and slow network conditions.
“People may want different ways to connect while they’re at home, which is why WhatsApp is also available on Portal — which many users have told us has been a great way to share their living room with family during the quarantine.”
In a similar response to the ongoing pandemic, WhatsApp had earlier limited messaging forwarding on its platform as part of efforts to slow down the spread of fake news.