There is a new player in town, Houseparty- a group chat app popular with teenagers. Houseparty, built by founder Ben Rubin and his team last year, was designed for teens who want to dip in and out of live online gatherings. It notifies you if your friends are online and hanging out online and invites you so you can go and join them at these digital “parties”. By November 2016, almost 1.2 million users spent round 20 minutes a day using the app. Currently, Houseparty is in the US App Store’s top 200 app, sitting at 152, and 14 in the social network category (App Annie,2017).
The Verge reports, Facebook is now trialling their copycat version of Houseparty called Bonfire. This was after research that they conducted earlier in the year, to find out if there was demand for such a service on the biggest social media platform. This app is currently a standalone app and reportedly includes features from the Houseparty group chat app. The social network giant is rumoured to be aiming for a release later this year, with the Bonfire app currently being demonstrated to its employees and it being described by one as “essentially a cone of Houseparty”.
Cloning apps is not a new thing for Facebook. They practically stole Snapchat and built it into Instagram, which they acquired in back in 2012. They call this built-in feature Instagram Stories. However this latest news comes quickly after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, came out with their new mission statement last month: “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Facebook also announced on their blog last month that they are putting communities first and concentrating on new tools for groups on the platform.