Facebook began rolling out a new group video chat feature to its Messenger app yesterday, allowing up to six users to appear on the screen at the same time and join in the conversation.
Messenger is the first mainstream chat platform to gain group video chat, beating the likes of Apple's FaceTime and iMessage, Google Duo, and Snapchat to the punch. In a blog post announcing the update, Facebook called group video chat its "most requested Messenger feature ever" and said the ability was being launched for both iOS and desktop versions of the app.
Group Video Chat is super easy to use (and, of course, free over wifi!). You can see up to six people at a time … but don’t worry if your group is a little larger because up to 50 friends can join in and choose to just listen in and join via voice, or be on camera. Once more than 6 people are on the call, just the dominant speaker is shown to all participants.
Group video chats can be initiated by joining an existing group conversation or creating a new one, then tapping on the video icon on the top right of the screen. This notifies everyone in the group and each person can choose to join with a single tap.
Snapchat-style selfie masks can be donned during conversations, while users listening to group chats can talk over voice while sending text, stickers, GIFs, and emojis.