Facebook wants its Messenger app to be your go-to chat app for all things communications related, including video calls.
In an effort to make that dream a reality, it recently updated the chat app's camera with Snapchat-like lenses, and now it's updated the group video call feature, enabling you to chat with up to 50 participants simultaneously. This update follows an April update that first added video calling to Messenger. Prior to that, Facebook’s app only let users make one-on-one audio calls.
Keep in mind both Google Hangouts and Microsoft Skype offer video calls, though they include 10-person limits. With Facebook Messenger's group video chat, you can see up to six people at a time, but up to 50 friends can join in and choose to just listen in and join via voice, or be on camera. Once more than six people are on the call, only the dominant speaker is shown to all participants.
To get started using the new group video chat, you’ll need the latest version of Messenger. Then, jump into an existing group conversation, or create a new one, and tap on the video icon on the corner of the screen to enter the video chat. Everyone in the group will be notified, and each person can join when they are ready. You can also directly call just a few people or the whole group.
You can also still send texts, stickers, and other animations while video and audio are transmitting. However, live masks are iOS-only, allowing you to augment the live video chat with an animation, but they should arrive for Android users soon.
Facebook said the new group chat update is rolling out now globally for both iOS and Android.