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Instagram Group Video Calling: What Should You Know?

By Diana Brown, PPMG Summer Intern

Instagram has launched yet another new feature: video calling. Here are some need-to-know facts about the addition:

1. Chat It Up

Ever since Instagram debuted their original chat function, it has become a hub for friends and family looking to exchange Instagram-exclusive content with one another. Given Instagram’s propensity to stay ahead of the innovation curve, having their only chat function be standard text messaging, seemed rather two-dimensional. Enter group video calling.

2. Multitasking Is Possible

Many of us are familiar with the experience of when facetiming a friend, having the video stream interrupted as the person you are video chatting with, checks a text on their phone, or attempts to perform any other function on their phone other than the video call. A unique quality about Instagram’s video calling is that the video stream can remain active as you are scrolling through your feed. This feature sets Instagram apart from other video calling competitors and underscores that the company values content and collaboration above all else. Participating in a video call with your friends and scrolling through your Instagram feed shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

3. No More Than Four

Currently, Instagram video calling allows a maximum of four people to participate in one video call. This places it below top competitors in terms of capacity; Snapchat allows 16 individuals to participate in a call and FaceTime allows double that. However, capping the number of people able to participate in a call has the same effect as allowing video-chatters to continue to browse; it suggests that Instagram wants to continue to let content reign supreme.

4. No Random Callers

Anyone whose follower count includes some percentage of strangers, might be concerned that this new feature will allow anyone on Instagram to call them. But fret not, the call function only works between individuals that have a mutual relationship on Instagram, meaning they follow one another back. The intention of Instagram’s video chatting is to enhance the community-building aspect of the app and make the process of sharing content that much more human; not to infringe upon the privacy of its users.

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