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Facebook has announced a new feature coming to its standalone Messenger app that will let users start up group calls with up to 50 friends and family members. Rolling out now to the iOS and Android Messenger apps, the update will use previously established group chats within Facebook's messaging client as a springboard for starting a voice call with the group's members (via TechCrunch).

Users will be able to begin a group call by tapping the new phone icon at the bottom of a group chat window, picking which members they specifically want included in the call, and waiting for them to receive a Messenger notification and jump in on the conversation. The social media company confirmed that a total of 50 people can be in on one group call at a time, and that anyone late to the call can join after the fact through the same phone icon in the group's chat log.

facebook-group-calls-800x722.jpg
An in-progress group call on the Messenger apps for iOS and Android


Group calls are an extension of Messenger's established one-on-one voice and video calling features, and the company has said that group video conferencing could be coming down the line, as well. "Group video calling is definitely a use case that a lot of our people might be interested in at some point," Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger's head of product, said in an interview last year. "It would be a big deal if the whole [shakes hand to simulate lack of video stabilization] thing goes away."

In addition to expanding Messenger into its own self-sufficient communication hub, Facebook has been slowly rolling out new features into its mainline application. Earlier in the year it introduced six new "Reactions" so users could communicate their feelings on a post beyond the binary liking system. At its F8 Conference, it also pushed ahead into the Live Video and broadcasting features introduced to a handful of prominent celebrities last summer, and expanded to wide use this month.

Article Link: Facebook Messenger Debuts Group Voice Calls With a Limit of Up to 50 People
 

smacrumon

macrumors 68030
Jan 15, 2016
2,683
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Why limit to just 50. Dunbar's number suggests maybe 150 might have been what Facebook should have aimed for.
At risk of sounding unconnected, in what circumstances would a call with 50 individuals occur?
 
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smacrumon

macrumors 68030
Jan 15, 2016
2,683
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*undocumented features*
We'll store the calls you make without you knowing it and we will make ad suggestions based on the things you said in these conversations.
The Facebook/Messenger brand really does suffer a perception of poor privacy and lack of trust.
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,868
14,999
In between a rock and a hard place
Trying everything they can to maintain stickiness in the FB universe. Without hardware, they have to pile on the services. I can't hate, since every company's gotta have a hustle. Socially, this might be okay for some people - gathering people for a party/outing, fantasy drafts, etc. I don't see it being big for traditional business though.
 
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rjlawrencejr

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2007
393
41
LA/OC/IE
I like it. I'm part of a small regional alumni association. Right now our board president uses a free conference call service, but something like this could be quite useful. I think the entire board has FB. I also like Hangouts, but a lot of folks I know aren't familiar with it.
 
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coder12

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2010
512
3
*undocumented features*
We'll store the calls you make without you knowing it and we will make ad suggestions based on the things you said in these conversations.

Oh, and we don't give a damn about your privacy, in case you were wondering.
Honest question, is there a location where they cover the terms of privacy for use of this product? Or is it just masked somewhere in their general EULA?
 
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albusseverus

macrumors 6502a
Nov 28, 2007
744
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I have no time for Facebook, but they are going to take over the world, aren't they? If they can get this to work, there will be no stopping them. News,Messaging, video calls, Joe Public won't look outside Facebook EVER.

Don't know which is scarier, Trump as president or Facebook succeeding. Shivers down my spine.
 
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Altis

macrumors 68040
Sep 10, 2013
3,059
4,555
I have no time for Facebook, but they are going to take over the world, aren't they? If they can get this to work, there will be no stopping them. News,Messaging, video calls, Joe Public won't look outside Facebook EVER.

Don't know which is scarier, Trump as president or Facebook succeeding. Shivers down my spine.

Which is scarier, some chump or the largest data collection and media control of nearly every person on the planet, the likes of which the world has never seen?

Hardly a close call.
 
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acctman

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2012
1,191
749
Georgia
*undocumented features*
We'll store the calls you make without you knowing it and we will make ad suggestions based on the things you said in these conversations.

Oh, and we don't give a damn about your privacy, in case you were wondering.
No that's Google and all of there services.
 
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swester

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2010
217
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All I can say is thank goodness I'm not in middle or high school these days. I can already see this being used to basically extend all the drama and nonsense from the schoolday into all-night group call.
 
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