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(Pocket-lint) - Instagram offers video chat as one of its features through its direct messaging tool, Instagram Direct.

With video chat, you can call one person or a group in real time. It works with friends who are already on Instagram for iOS or Android and doesn't require a phone number. Here's how it works.

How to video chat with Instagram

  1. Tap the message arrow icon in the top right of Feed.
  2. Tap a username or group name to open the conversation.
  3. You can also start a new conversation by tapping the pencil icon in the top right and selecting people.
  4. Tap the video icon in the top right. The person or group you call will receive a notification.

So, to start a video chat, swipe into your Direct inbox and open any message thread. There will be a camera icon in the right corner - tap it. This will call your friend. If there's an active video chat in a group thread, the camera icon will turn blue. While in the video chat, you can minimise the video in order to browse Instagram, send messages in Direct, post a story, and more.

You can also video chat as long as you want. When you're done, tap the red phone icon at the bottom. Keep in mind that anyone you've accepted a direct message from can video chat with you. To prevent someone from video calling, you can block them or mute the conversation.

It's also possible to create a room that will allow you to video chat with other users across Facebook's platforms, including Facebook Messenger. To create a new video chat room, tap on the video icon in the top right of your Direct inbox and select the people you want to create a room with.

How to manage video chat notifications

If you'd like to control your video chat notifications, tap the three lines on profile and select 'Settings'. From here, select 'Notifications' and then 'Direct messages'. Scroll down to video chats and select your preferences.

Want to know more?

Check out Instagram's blog post or help hub.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 27 June 2018.