Facebook Messenger Group Effects Adds AR Fun to Group Chats

Green beards for everyone!

Interactive augmented reality (AR) experiences are coming to video calls on Facebook Messenger and Instagram as a fun new way to chat with friends. 

Facebook announced the new feature, known as Group Effects, on Thursday. You’ll be able to choose from 70 different Group Effects to augment everyone on a video call at the same time so each participant can see the others in a green beard or play an AR game together in real-time. 

Facebook Messenger Group Effects

Group Effects work in the Messenger app during video calls or room chats. The option is available under the smiley face icon. The Group Effect you choose will apply to everyone on the video call so you can share the experience together. 

To create more Group Effects for people to enjoy, Facebook detailed that it would also be expanding access to its Spark AR API for creators to develop new effects. 

This will be the first time that an AR experience can be shared with others on the platform. Previously, you only could use AR lenses or effects for Stories or Reels, usually as a solo experience unless others were present with you in person. 

Facebook Messenger displayed on a smartphone sitting next to a laptop computer on a glasstop table.

Timothy Hales Bennett / Unsplash

The Group Effects feature is available now for Facebook Messenger and will be coming soon to Instagram. 

TechCrunch notes that Messenger also is rolling out another feature known as Word Effects that will pair common words or phrases with emojis that will fill your entire screen. The feature can be used for memories, inside jokes, lyrics, and more and is available on the iOS Messenger app, with Android app availability coming in the next few weeks. 

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