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Nam Y. Huh / AP

Facebook is reportedly getting ready to launch a standalone group video chat app that may resemble Houseparty, according to The Verge. The new app would be called Bonfire and is reportedly aimed for a fall release. Facebook said it had nothing to share at this time.

Two years ago the group video chat app, Houseparty, took off with teenagers — by November 2016 it had 1.2 million users, each spending a whopping 20 minutes a day on it. Houseparty is in the top 200 apps on Apple's U.S. App Store, marking it prime meat for Facebook's next move, which has been on the hunt to buy or mimic other products that do well among young clientele (think its buyout of Instagram or its attempts to mimic Snapchat's features).

Why it matters: Facebook has made strategic investments in digital features, services and apps that eat at the user growth and success of competing apps or digital companies, like Snapchat, GoFundMe, Periscope, and Apple. Some have argued that the practice raises anti-trust concerns. Migrating users over to Facebook's network and keeping users engaged for longer on its platform helps Facebook amass more user data, which it uses to sell advertising revenue against.

Go deeper

57 mins ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump with Michael Flynn in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped Tuesday night.