Facebook has confirmed that it is testing a new video chat app called Bonfire, said to rival Houseparty, in Denmark. Bonfire is aimed at millennials and offers Snapchat-like filters, according to screenshots of the app that have emerged. The company didn't say whether it had any plans to make Bonfire available in more markets. Development of the app was first reported back in July.
News outlet The Next Web spotted the app in Denmark's App Store and played with it. Bonfire, which has a tagline "Your friends, your fire," allows users to chat with multiple people on Facebook at once via Live Video. The features are very similar to Houseparty, an app that is popular among millennials. The co-founder of Houseparty took a jab at Facebook after learning the news.
According to some users, some of the features of Bonfire could also be used with Facebook Messenger app. Facebook started to explore the idea of Bonfire earlier this year. According to a report on Recode in March, Facebook was circulating a survey to ask users about their experience with using Houseparty.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook has a tool that tracks which new apps are gaining ground among customers. The company executives then start exploring ways to bring similar features in their own apps.
For Facebook, which is seeing drop in engagement from users, especially the young audience, being able to cater to that user base is important. The company has already seen Snapchat become much more popular among millennials. According to Houseparty, it already has over 20 million users who have participated in more than 500 million group video calls. The Verge reported in July that Facebook demonstrated the app to employees. At the time, the company had planned to release it by the end of the year.
In a statement to The Next Web, Facebook confirmed the existence of Bonfire. It said, "We are interested in how everyone uses technology and how we can build great experiences for them. We’re running a very small test in Denmark of an app we call Bonfire. We have nothing further to share at this time."