Facebook Messenger launches group video chat with Snapchat-style selfie filters

Another week, another Facebook app builds upon what Snapchat started.

facebook messenger video chat
Facebook

Facebook Messenger is bringing selfie filters to real-time video chat.

On Monday, Facebook announced that its Messenger app will let users conduct group video chats in real time. The splitscreen video will support six callers at any given time, but up to 50 users can join the conversation via text and voice, with the “dominant speaker” popping up on the video feed.

Users on iOS will also be able to add 3D selfie filters—or “Masks”—to amuse their friends, a feature that’s been popular on Snapchat for quite some time. According to Facebook, selfie filters will roll out to Android users in the near future.

To start a group video chat, just tap the video icon in an existing conversation. All the participants will be notified to go on video and can join in when they’re ready. In addition, you can add new users to the conversation by pinging them directly.

Facebook says that 245 million people use Messenger every month to conduct video calls.

Why this matters: Mark Zuckerberg and co. have been on a roll this year, adopting popular features from competitors—mainly Snapchat—to integrate into its Facebook apps. While Instagram got Stories earlier this year, Facebook’s flagship app integrated “Masks” into live video.

Now, it looks like Facebook Messenger is also getting some of the Snapchat magic. Snapchat originally debuted 3D selfie filters to great success. Meanwhile, Snapchat has been slow to bring new, innovative features (perhaps afraid that Facebook will just snatch them). Last week, Snapchat finally allowed users to initiate group chats–the text kind, not video.

Facebook Messenger’s group video chat feature also works on desktop, making it a new competitor to Google Hangouts.

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