For the holidays, Messenger is introducing new features such as influencer-inspired group AR effects, new Soundmoji options with Taylor Swift, and a new test of bill-splitting within group chat threads.
To begin, there are new group effects for video conversations, which are interactive augmented reality features that may be applied to many persons in a video chat.
The new features include a regal crown, a retro recording display, and more, as seen above. But it's not the features themselves that are noteworthy; it's whom Messenger has collaborated with to develop them. For the campaign, the platform has partnered with several high-profile influencers from other applications, including King Bach, TikTok star Bella Poarch, and Zack King. In this way, it appears that this is yet another move in Facebook's larger effort to reclaim younger people by partnering with well-known producers to raise awareness of its new group AR capabilities.
The effects themselves don't appear to be that interesting, but tapping into these popular influencers could be a way to increase exposure, particularly among their largely younger fan bases. In addition, in honor of Swift's new album, 'Red,' Messenger has added a new Taylor Swift Soundmoji set. Messenger introduced Soundmojis in July, which features an emoji character that also plays an audio clip that the recipient can hear when they get the message.
Finally, Messenger is launching a new Split Payments test, which will make it easier for users to split the cost of bills and charges. As you can see in this example, Messenger's new split payments option divides the full amount among recipients, and you can choose to include or remove yourself from the computation. Payments can then be made immediately in the app using Facebook Pay, making bill-splitting arrangements more automatic and transparent.
Overall, the changes are small, while bill splitting could be useful and encourage more use of Meta's payment facilities, strengthening the company's eCommerce drive, while working with popular influencers will undoubtedly help raise awareness of these new capabilities.
All users can utilize the new AR effects and Soundmojis, and bill-splitting is being tested in the United States this week.