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Tech tips

Tech-how to: Make phone calls to friends and family from Facebook

You may be familiar with Facebook messaging, which allows you to directly message someone when you want to have a conversation outside of Facebook’s public forum, but did you realize that you can also make voice and video calls through the social media platform? RELATED: Facebook Messenger tricks you’ll use over and over.

That’s right; you can use your Facebook account for video calls and voice calls similar to the ones you make with your smartphone or your Zoom account. But, unlike your cell phone, this handy feature allows you to make voice and video calls to the people on your friend’s list from both Facebook mobile and your desktop — so you can chat right from your computer, too.

If you want to learn how to use Facebook to make video and voice calls from your desktop or mobile, check out the instructions below.

Making voice and video calls with Facebook

Facebook Messenger isn’t reinventing the wheel when it comes to voice and video calls, but it does offer a few unique features — including the fact that you don’t have to exchange numbers to use it. All you have to do is make sure the person you’re contacting is on your friend’s list and you should be able to call them using Messenger.

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This platform offers a couple of other perks, too, including the screen sharing option that just rolled out and filters that you can add when making video calls. If you want to turn yourself into a tiger or a shark, you can do that. You can also add little doodles or other stickers to brighten up the conversation — and these features are already loaded into the video chat when you connect.

Facebook is also rolling out a new feature for group calls that allows up to 50 participants in one call by using a Messaging Room, though these upgraded features are not yet available to use. You can still hold group video calls via Facebook Messenger, though — you’ll just be limited to six participants until the new Messaging Rooms roll out.

You can even use Messenger to make business calls like you would in any other meeting platform. Facebook rolled out a new feature this week in Messenger that allows you to share your screen.

This handy tool could make Facebook Messenger a smart alternative to the online meeting platform Zoom, which has had some major security issues in recent months.

Before you try to make calls through Facebook, it’s important to note that neither the Facebook app for desktop or the mobile app can support audio or video calls. You’ll need to use Facebook Messenger through either your computer or the Messenger app on mobile instead. Facebook Messenger, not the Facebook platform itself, is what supports the calls you’ll be making.

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If you want to use Facebook on your computer, you have two options to do so: Messenger.com, which is the website for Facebook Messenger, or the Messenger desktop app, which you can download directly to your computer. You’ll need to choose one of them before starting.

The same goes for your mobile calls. If you want to use Facebook for video and voice calls, it’s not enough to download the Facebook app. You’ll also need the Facebook Messenger app, which is a separate download for Android phones or iOS-based iPhones and iPads. Both are free, so aside from the space it will take up on your device, it won’t cost you anything to add it.

To make voice calls through Facebook on your computer:

  1. Open the desktop app or Messenger.com and click on a conversation with the intended recipient. (It’s important to note that they will need to be on your friend’s list or be someone who’s shared their mobile phone number with you; otherwise, you can’t use Messenger to call them.)
  2. Select the phone icon at the top right side of the message box.
  3. Clicking on the phone icon will immediately initiate the call to the person you are trying to reach.

It’s equally as simple to make video calls with your desktop app or Messenger.com.

To make video calls through Facebook on your computer:

  1. Open the desktop app or Messenger.com and click on a conversation with the intended recipient.
  2. Select the video camera icon at the top right side of the message box.
  3. Clicking on the video camera icon will immediately initiate the call to the person you are trying to reach.

You can also make voice and video calls through the Messenger app on your phone, but you’ll need to download the Messenger app for Android or iPhone before you can make any calls with Facebook. Once you’ve downloaded the app, the process of making calls through it is simple.

To make voice calls using the Messenger app on mobile:

  1. Open the Messenger app and click on a conversation with the intended recipient.
  2. Select the phone icon at the top right side of the message box in the app.
  3. Clicking on the phone icon will immediately initiate the call to the person you are trying to reach.

To make video calls using the Messenger app on mobile:

  1. Open the Messenger app and click on a conversation with the intended recipient.
  2. Select the video camera icon at the top right side of the message box in the app.
  3. Clicking on the video camera icon will immediately initiate the call to the person you are trying to reach.

To make group video calls through Facebook on both desktop and mobile

You can set up group calls via Messenger with up to six people in the room on mobile and desktop. The nice thing about this feature is that the group participants can join the call if and when they choose to — not everyone has to answer to initiate the call.

  1. To get started, you’ll need the latest version of Messenger, so check your desktop or mobile app before you try to place any group calls.
  2. Open the mobile app, the desktop app, or Messenger.com and log in.
  3. Start a new group conversation with the people you want to chat with or just jump into an existing group conversation.
  4. Tap on the video icon on the top right side of the screen to enter the video chat.
  5. Once you tap the icon, everyone in the group will be notified that you are starting a group video call.
  6. Each person can join the group video call when they are ready with just one tap.
  7. Note: You can also directly ring just a few people or the whole group if you need to “nudge” the people in the group who haven’t joined the call.

Tips for using Messenger to make calls

Using Messenger to make calls is pretty simple, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your calls go smoothly.

  • Make sure to enable the camera and microphone for the Messenger app after you download it on mobile.
  • If the call is having trouble connecting, check your Wi-Fi or internet signal. You’ll need a decent connection to use this feature in Messenger.
  • Test out the camera and mic on your desktop or laptop to make sure they’re working correctly before you try to make a call with Messenger.
  • Make sure your browser settings are set up to let you make calls through Messenger. For example, Chrome needs permission to use your mic and camera for the calls, and you’ll have to grant it permission to do so before you can make any calls.
  • Allow pop-ups for Messenger if you’re using the desktop version. This is especially important in Chrome, which needs you to agree to allow pop-ups before you can use Messenger to make calls.

Making calls or having video chats through Facebook is a simple process, which makes it an enticing venture. However, any time you sue Facebook you need to make sure your privacy is protected. Tap or click here for Facebook settings you need to adjust right now.

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