Facebook’s Testing a New Screen-Sharing Option for Messenger

Facebook’s Testing a New Screen-Sharing Option for Messenger

Facebook is testing a new Messenger video option which would enable you to share your phone screen in a Messenger chat, as opposed to using the camera.  

Messenger screenshare

Spotted by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, the new option, as you can see above, would switch to a screenshare of your mobile device, enabling you to share in-app experiences, videos, etc.

The text in the first prompt reads:

“You can share your favorite content with your video chat. This turns off your camera and lets everyone in the chat see your screen.”

There’s then a second warning before you go ahead – which is probably a good thing, as there may be private or personal info on your phone screen that you may not want to share with a group chat. Worth prompting a second thought before going ahead. And as you can see in the last frame, the screenshare is then reflected to the group.

There’s a range of ways this functionality could be used – you could run real-time walkthroughs on-screen, quickly share a range of photos or videos from your phone, or discuss documents for work/study-related chat.

But one way that it probably will be used – as with most live-streaming options – is to broadcast and share video content. As Wong notes, the function would enable viewing of video content from beyond Facebook. Facebook already has communal video viewing options available (which are popular among video piracy groups), but this option would expand the capacity of the same to any video type that you can play on your phone. Set up a full-screen broadcast of the latest pirated movie, or other controversial content, and you have your own small cinema, with a group of your friends able to watch together and discuss.

Of course, that won’t be the only, or even primary usage, and it’s not Facebook’s responsibility to police how, exactly, people use it. But you can imagine this will be common, if the screenshare option ends up getting rolled out.

But as noted, there will be other benefits. It seems like a fairly logical addition – one which might open some users up to potentially embarassing, unintended revelations. But one which also makes sense.     




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