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Scared of Zoom and Houseparty? Facebook Messenger lands on desktop

Usually, it’s Facebook on the wrong end of privacy storms, but in these unheard of times, new communications apps like Zoom and Houseparty have people wondering whether they’ve put themselves at risk.

At a time when there have been plenty of speculation about the security and safety of the new apps on the block, reverting to Facebook might suddenly seem like a “better the devil you know” scenario for many.

Many will probably welcome the launch of a new Facebook Messenger desktop app for Mac and PC, which was launched today and can be obtained from the requisite app stores.

In a blog post, Facebook promises the app will bring free voice and video calls, on a larger screen than the tablet or phone people may have been using for video chats to offset the social isolation.

The firm says it is compatible with multitasking, meaning it’s easy to jump in and out of the app while keeping the call active. It also has native notifications for new messages. Chats will sync across mobile and desktop, and the app is also compatible with the Dark Mode and GIFs offered by the mobile app.

Related: How to delete a Zoom account

In a blog post, Facebook said: “Now more than ever, people are using technology to stay in touch with the people they care about, even when physically apart. Over the past month, we saw more than a 100% increase in people using their desktop browser for audio and video calling on Messenger. Now with apps for MacOS and Windows, the best of Messenger is coming to desktop, including unlimited and free group video calls.”

The launch comes after fears over the security of using the Zoom app, due to doubts over the end-to-end encryption. Facebook Messenger, of course, does encrypt communications on both ends.

Earlier this week, Houseparty users feared other accounts had been compromised after signing up for the app. The makers strongly denied this and attributed reports to a smear campaign, offering up a $1m bounty to any party that could prove it.

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