Facebook Messenger reveals group video with Snapchat-like selfie filters

20 Dec 2016

Facebook Messenger reveals new group video chat feature. Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

Facebook Messenger has debuted a new split-screen group video chat feature that supports up to six users at once, as well as 50 other voice participants.

The split-screen group video chat feature will enable up to six people to appear on screen at the same time, while donning Snapchat-style selfie masks and sending text, stickers, emojis and GIFs.

As well as this, up to 50 other participants can join in by voice or text.

Starting today, Group Video Chat is rolling out to Android and iOS devices, and the desktop version of Messenger, worldwide.

“With 245m people making video calls in Messenger every month, now we’re bringing everyone on Messenger the ability to turn group chats into face-to-face conversations, no matter where you are – whether you’re down the street or halfway across the world,” said Stephanie Taine, product manager, Facebook Messenger.

How to use Facebook Messenger group video feature

Facebook Messenger reveals group video with Snapchat-like selfie filters

The new split-screen feature and selfie filters in Facebook Messenger. Image: Facebook Messenger

To avail of the new service, users will need to have the latest version of Messenger.

Then they just need to jump into an existing group conversation or create a new one.

“Then tap on the video icon on the upper right of the screen to enter the video chat, and everyone in the group will be notified. Each person can join when they are ready with just one tap. For an extra nudge, you can also directly ring just a few people or the whole group,” Taine said.

The move by Facebook signals a new front in the war against rival company Snap, which is quickly gaining ground, especially among teenage users.

Facebook and its properties Instagram and WhatsApp have made no secret of the fact that they continually gain inspiration from the Snapchat app.

However, the addition of a group video-calling function represents a whole new departure.

In recent days, Snapchat rolled out its own new feature, where up to 16 people can join a group chat.

But will it too start adding video? Only time will tell.

Facebook Messenger. Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years