Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, founders of the Napster file-sharing service, have set up a new social video-chat service called Airtime.

Airtime's launch event drew big names including Snoop Dogg and Jim Carrey but was beset by technical problems.

After the event started almost an hour late, the video chats between celebrities then failed for almost ten minutes.

The Airtime service is currently only available Facebook users, but seeing as there are around 950 million of them it shouldn't limit its audience too much. Hopefully the teething problems seen at the launch event have been ironed out.

Stage fright

Parker said that Airtime is intended to be a social network, but not a rival platform to Facebook. The idea is that friends are able to easily communicate and 'perform' for each other. We'd better get our party tricks polished, then.

He went on to say that the service is designed to enable friends to video chat with each other as well as anonymously with people outside their social network.

That doesn't come without its problems, however, and Airtime claims that it will make online safety a priority to weed out 'bad actors' who want to spoil it for the rest of us. Anyone who's had a 'surprise' on Chatroulette will know what they're talking about here.

However, one user tried the anonymous chat feature and came face-to-face with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and had thirty seconds to thank him for his creation before he got bored and moved on.

"We're trying to restore serendipity to the Internet," Parker said. "There's never been an environment like this for live performance on the Internet."

Via Reuters, BetaBeat