Introducing Group Video Chat in Messenger

As we close the year, we’re thrilled to launch the most requested Messenger feature ever — the ability to video chat in groups. Group Video Chat in Messenger makes it simple and seamless to stay connected face-to-face. Starting today, Group Video Chat is rolling out to Android and iOS devices, and the desktop version of Messenger, worldwide.

More and more people use messaging in groups for lots of different reasons like keeping everyone up to date, planning a family vacation or to share a few jokes. With 245 million 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. Chatting face-to-face live as a group is perfect for those spontaneous moments when text just isn’t enough… or when you have a major case of FOMO. It’s the best way to share the news you just got a job (or into college), have your kids wish grandma a happy birthday, tell a funny story to the people you love or just see your friends live while wearing fun 3D masks (iOS only for now — Android coming soon) to an everyday conversation.

Here’s How It Works

Group Video Chat is super easy to use (and, of course, free over Wi-Fi). You can see up to six people at a time … but don’t worry if your group is a little larger because 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, just the dominant speaker is shown to all participants.

To get started, you’ll need the latest version of Messenger. All you have to do is 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.

This is the time of year to tell our friends and family how much we care about them and send best wishes for the year ahead. We’re delighted to bring you the ability to chat face-to-face with those who matter to you most, wherever they are. We look forward to hearing what you think.

Introducing the New Privacy Basics

Today we’re introducing a new Privacy Basics to make it easier for people to find tools for controlling their information on Facebook.

Privacy Basics features improved functionality and top topics based on your most frequently asked questions about privacy and security. Built using your feedback, everything is organized so that information about protecting your privacy is easy to find. Privacy Basics puts you in the driver’s seat with 32 interactive guides available in 44 languages. See a quick overview in the video below.

People share their most valued moments on Facebook, and we want to make tips and tools clear and accessible whenever you need them. Privacy Basics gives you tips for things like securing your account, understanding who can see posts and knowing what your profile looks like to others. This is part of Facebook’s overall effort to make sure you have all the information you need to share what you want with only the people you want to see it.

We’re making these improvements as part of Data Privacy Day, held each year on January 28. We’re joining state attorneys general and other policymakers who are sharing their own privacy information on Facebook, along with organizations around the world like National Cyber Security Alliance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, who are working to raise awareness of how to take charge of your information online. In addition to visiting Privacy Basics, we encourage you to take the time to:

  • Take the Privacy Checkup. You’ll walk through a few quick steps to make sure only the people you want to see your stuff can see it. You can review who you’re posting to, which apps you’re using, and the privacy of key pieces of information on your profile.
  • Choose who sees what you post. On Facebook, you can use the audience selector to choose who will see each of your posts — just your friends, everyone, or specific people you select.
  • Increase your account security by turning on login approvals. You’ll get a unique security code each time you access your Facebook account from a new device.

We hope you find these tips and tools useful. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback to update and improve Facebook’s privacy resources.

Friends Day: Taking Time to Connect With Friends

Through friendship, our world grows more connected, powerful things can happen, and lives and communities can be changed. Today, connecting is more important than ever.

This Saturday, February 4, is Facebook’s 13th birthday, a day we call Friends Day. We’ll be sharing some stories of powerful connections made in our community, as well as launching products to celebrate friendship and encouraging people to take time to connect with their friends.

Inspirational Stories of Friendship
This week, we hosted an event here at Menlo Park. Members of our community who’ve been using Groups to connect with friends around the world joined us to share their stories. We spoke with them about the powerful impact of friendship and how technology makes it easier than ever to build truly global communities.

Building a Safer Community With New Suicide Prevention Tools

There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds. Experts say that one of the best ways to prevent suicide is for those in distress to hear from people who care about them.

Facebook is in a unique position — through friendships on the site — to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook.

Today we’re updating the tools and resources we offer to people who may be thinking of suicide, as well as the support we offer to their concerned friends and family members:

  • Integrated suicide prevention tools to help people in real time on Facebook Live
  • Live chat support from crisis support organizations through Messenger
  • Streamlined reporting for suicide, assisted by artificial intelligence

Already on Facebook if someone posts something that makes you concerned about their well-being, you can reach out to them directly or report the post to us. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritize the most serious reports like suicide. We provide people who have expressed suicidal thoughts with a number of support options. For example, we prompt people to reach out to a friend and even offer pre-populated text to make it easier for people to start a conversation. We also suggest contacting a help line and offer other tips and resources for people to help themselves in that moment.

Suicide prevention tools have been available on Facebook for more than 10 years and were developed in collaboration with mental health organizations such as Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront and Crisis Text Line, and with input from people who have personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide. In 2016 we expanded the availability of the latest tools globally — with the help of over 70 partners around the world — and improved how they work based on new technology and feedback from the community.

Supporting Someone on Facebook Live

  • Our suicide prevention tools for Facebook posts will now be integrated into Facebook Live. People watching a live video have the option to reach out to the person directly and to report the video to us. We will also provide resources to the person reporting the live video to assist them in helping their friend.
  • The person sharing a live video will see a set of resources on their screen. They can choose to reach out to a friend, contact a help line or see tips. If you or someone you know is in crisis, it is important to call local emergency services right away. You can also visit our Help Center for information about how to support yourself or a friend.

Empowering Crisis Support Partners

Partners are key to our work in suicide prevention and mental health support.

  • We recently added the ability for people to connect with our crisis support partners over Messenger. Now people will see the option to message with someone in real time directly from the organization’s Page or through our suicide prevention tools.
  • Participating organizations include Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • This test will expand over the next several months, ensuring the organizations can support any new volume of communication. Zendesk donated some of the company’s backend tools to make this integration possible.
  • Today, we are also launching a video campaign with partner organizations across the globe to raise awareness about ways to help a friend in need.

Making Reporting Easier

We work to address posts expressing thoughts of suicide as quickly and accurately as possible.

  • Based on feedback from experts, we are testing a streamlined reporting process using pattern recognition in posts previously reported for suicide. This artificial intelligence approach will make the option to report a post about “suicide or self injury” more prominent for potentially concerning posts like these.
  • We’re also testing pattern recognition to identify posts as very likely to include thoughts of suicide. Our Community Operations team will review these posts and, if appropriate, provide resources to the person who posted the content, even if someone on Facebook has not reported it yet.
  • We are starting this limited test in the US and will continue working closely with suicide prevention experts to understand other ways we can use technology to help provide support.

Suicide prevention is one way we’re working to build a safer community on Facebook. With the help of our partners and people’s friends and family members on Facebook, we’re hopeful we can support more people over time.

Share Your Day In Messenger

At the end of last year, we launched Messenger’s new fast, powerful built-in camera to help make your conversations better than ever. Billions of photos and videos have been sent capturing all those heartfelt, funny and serious messages that make the Messenger community so powerful. We love seeing how much fun people are having with Messenger’s new visual tools, especially our most popular art and effects like floating hearts and recently, Mardi Gras frames.

At the same time, we also began testing a way for you to share these photos and videos — as they happen — by adding to your Messenger Day, where many of your friends can view and reply to them. You’re always in control of who can see your day — share it with everyone, or choose specific friends and family members on Messenger. Since everything you add disappears after 24 hours, feel free to add as often as you want. Millions of people around the world have already used Messenger Day to show what they’re doing, how they’re feeling and to invite friends to join them for activities — or just to chat.

Today we are starting to roll out Messenger Day globally on Android and iOS.

Here’s how Messenger Day works:

  1. First make sure you’ve updated your Messenger app so you have the latest version.
  2. Open Messenger, and tap on the camera highlighted with a sun to celebrate this launch. Doing so drops you right into the full-screen camera. Or, tap the “Add to your day” button at the top of your inbox to get started.
  3. Snap a quick selfie or take a photo or video of what’s around you.
  4. To add art and effects, tap the smiley face icon in the top right and then tap to add to your photo or video. You can also add text over your images by tapping the “Aa” icon, and you can overlay a drawing by tapping the squiggly line in the top right corner.
  5. Once you have your photo or video the way you want it, tap the arrow in the bottom right corner. You can then add directly to your day, save it to your phone’s camera roll, and/or you can choose to send it to a specific person or group of people. The photo or video that you add to your day will be viewable for 24 hours.

You can also add to your day from a conversation you’re having with a friend or group of people. After you send a photo or video, you’ll see the option to “add to your day.” Simply tap that text, and you’ll be asked to confirm you’d like to add it to your day.

While you’re messaging with someone, you’ll see if they have anything new from their day, too.

Of course it’s up to you if you want to share your day with everyone you talk to in Messenger or just your closest friends and family. You can customize how you share by tapping the “more” icon and then choosing “Everyone Except” or “Custom.” If you share something to your day that you decide you want to take down, just tap the image at the top of your inbox, then tap the three dots at the bottom right hand corner of your image, and then select “Delete.”

New Ways to Go Live: Now From Your Computer

We’re excited to announce that, as of today, people around the world can broadcast live video to Facebook from their desktop or laptop computers. While it’s been possible for people to go live to Facebook from mobile devices since last year, desktop or laptop computers provide a stable camera setup that can be beneficial to many types of Facebook Live broadcasts — from Q&As to vlogs to tutorials to any broadcast from someone who isn’t on the move.

To get started on your live broadcast from a computer, click “Live Video” from the top of your News Feed or Timeline, then follow the prompts to add a description and choose your audience.

Go Live with Streaming Software

We’ve also added a new feature that makes it easy to use streaming software or external hardware when going live from a computer. This capability previously was possible only through a Page, but we’ve heard feedback from our community that it would be useful for profiles, too.

With this update, people can seamlessly share their screens, insert graphics, switch cameras, or use professional equipment in Facebook Live videos. They also have the option to broadcast to Facebook Groups they belong to, Facebook Events they’re part of, or Facebook Pages they manage.

If you’re a gamer, this new feature makes it easier than ever to stream your PC gameplay to friends and followers and engage with them while you play. If you’re giving your friends or followers a tutorial or how-to guide, you can incorporate on-screen graphics, titles, and overlays. Or if you’re an artist, you can go live and switch seamlessly between cameras as you narrate the process.

You can go live with streaming software or external hardware directly from News Feed, your profile, or the direct link here. Check out this step-by-step guide.

We want to make Facebook Live as enjoyable and interactive as possible, and we hope these updates will make it easier for people to connect, hang out, and share with friends and public audiences.

Introducing Message Reactions and Mentions For Messenger

Messenger is a great way to communicate with just one person or with a group of people. Today, we’re introducing two new features that improve group conversations to make them more fun and useful.

Message Reactions
Message Reactions are the ability to react to an individual message with a specific emotion, quickly showing acknowledgement or expressing how you feel in a lightweight way. For example, if someone messages a photo of their cute pet, you could respond with the love reaction. Or, if someone is trying to coordinate dinner plans, you could easily respond with a yes or no reaction to indicate your preferences.

To add a reaction, press and hold any message, and then tap to make your selection from the love, smile, wow, sad, angry, yes and no emojis.

You’ll be able to see how people have reacted to a message in the lower corner of the message. There, you’ll see the reactions people selected alongside a number indicating how many people reacted to the message. Tapping on the emojis will show you which members of your conversation reacted which way.

When someone reacts to a message you sent, you’ll see a small animation when you’re looking at the conversation.

And, if you don’t have Messenger open, you’ll receive a notification that lets you know who reacted to your message and how.

Messenger Reactions use Messenger emojis. Messenger Reactions work in one on one conversations as well as group conversations and can be used to comment on any message — text, stickers, videos, GIFs and even other emoji.

Mentions
Mentions is a way to directly notify someone when they’ve been mentioned in a conversation. To mention someone, type the “@” symbol or start typing the first few letters of the name or nickname of the person you want to notify and select them from the list.

When the message is sent, it will appear with highlighted text for the others in the group to see.

When a person is mentioned, instead of simply seeing that someone responded in the conversation, he or she will receive a new kind of notification that lets them know they were called out specifically. That way, it’s easy to jump right back in to the conversation to answer someone’s question or to provide a response.

Everyone in the conversation can see the call out in the conversation, and everyone gets a notification just like before, but only the specified person in the group conversation gets a notification that they have been mentioned. You can choose to turn off these notifications at any time.

Reactions and Mentions will also be available for Work Chat in Workplace, our global communications platform for organizations to collaborate better. Both features will begin rolling out today and will be available globally in the coming days.

To learn more about Reactions and Mentions, be sure to visit the Help Center.

Introducing Live Location in Messenger

Today we’re excited to announce a new way to share your location in Messenger. Our new Live Location feature makes it simple and seamless for you to choose to share where you are with your friends and family. This is rolling out globally and is available on both iOS and Android.

We’ve been testing this for a little while, and people tell us that Live Location is helpful when trying to coordinate with friends, telling people how close you are when you’re on your way to an appointment, or even sharing where you are with your roommate when you’re on your way home at night. You can share your Live Location with a group of friends in Messenger or just with one person — it’s up to you!

How It Works

  • To share your Live Location in a message on iOS, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location.
  • With today’s update, you’ll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location.
  • If you choose to share your Live Location, the person or people you share it with will be able to see where you are on a map for the next 60 minutes.
  • You’ll be able to see an estimate of how long it would take to get to others’ locations by car. (The ETA is seen by the person with whom the location is shared.)
  • You can stop sharing your Live Location at any time; just tap Stop Sharing.
  • A small clock in the lower right hand corner of the map will also let you know how much longer you’re sharing your location for.
  • For Android, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location.
  • You’ll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location for 60 minutes. Just like on iOS, you’ll have the option to stop sharing your Live Location by tapping Stop Sharing, and you’ll see how much longer you’re sharing your Live Location for via a small count down clock in the lower right hand corner of the map.

It’s still possible to share a static point on a map, too. For example, if you want to tell a friend which coffee shop to meet you at, tap the location pin or the More icon, and then instead of choosing Share Live Location, tap the red pin in the upper right hand corner. From there, you can search for a place to share, or you can drag and drop the pin on the map. Then, tap Send.

Sharing your location in a Messenger conversation — either continuously for an hour with Live Location or as a static point — is completely optional. You are always in control. For additional information and instructions on sending or sharing a location in Messenger, please visit the Help Center.

More Ways to Share With the Facebook Camera

We want to make it fast, fun and easy for people to share creative photos and videos with whomever they choose, for however long they choose — and the more we share with each other, the more open and connected our community can be. Today we’re starting to roll out a new camera with effects and two additional ways to share the photos and videos you take.

Camera Effects: Let Your Camera Do the Talking

Starting this week on iOS and Android, you can tap on the camera icon on the top left corner of the Facebook app or swipe right from News Feed to try out the new in-app camera. The Facebook camera is packed with dozens of effects like masks, frames and interactive filters that you can apply to your photos and videos. Reactive effects let you interact with dynamic objects — like falling snow — and style effects apply an artistic filter to your video in real time, letting you turn your everyday selfie into a Picasso-style work of art.

We’re also partnering with brands to create masks for upcoming movies Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman.

Masks for Alien: Covenant (left), Despicable Me 3 (middle) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (right)

Masks for Power Rangers (middle), Smurfs: The Lost Village (left) and Wonder Woman (right)

Additionally, we’re including guest art from visual artists like Douglas Coupland and Hattie Stewart. We’ll regularly refresh the creative effects in the camera to give you fun new effects to explore.

Stories: Show Friends What You’re Up To 

The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we’re also introducing Facebook Stories, which lets you share multiple photos and videos as part of a visual collection atop News Feed. Your friends can view photos or videos from your story for 24 hours, and stories won’t appear on your Timeline or in News Feed unless you post them there, too.

To add to your story, tap on the “Your Story” icon in the Stories bar at the top of News Feed.Direct: Easily Share With Exactly Who You Want
In addition to sharing to your Story, we know you may want to share your photos and videos with specific friends. We’ve also added Direct, an option that’s designed for sharing individual photos and videos with specific friends for a limited time.

When you send a photo or video via Direct, your friends will be able to view it once and replay it or write a reply. Once the conversation on the photo or video ends, the content is no longer visible in Direct.Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera. Our goal is for the camera to be a home to hundreds of dynamic and fun effects that give you new ways to connect with friends, family, and your community.

We hope that with the new Facebook camera, Stories and Direct, it will be easier than ever to see the world through each other’s eyes, and we can’t wait to see the photos and videos you create. In the meantime, here’s one of my own in my tropical island disguise, hiding from work with my cat Ebi.

More Ways to Support Causes

When people mobilize around the causes they care about, it builds a safe and supportive community. Our charitable giving tools have made it easy for people to raise millions of dollars for nonprofits to support those in need directly on Facebook. Today we are expanding those tools to include personal fundraisers, as well as more options for people to continue to fundraise for nonprofits.

Introducing Personal Fundraisers

Personal fundraisers allow people to raise money for themselves, a friend or someone or something not on Facebook, for example a pet. Personal fundraisers will launch in the US for people aged 18 years or older, and in beta over the next few weeks, as we hope to continue to learn and improve the product to make it even more useful. For example, we will begin with six specific categories for critical financial needs and include a 24-hour fundraiser review process. As we learn more, we hope to expand our categories and automate more of the review process.

Personal fundraisers will have a 6.9% + $.30 fee, that will go to payment processing fees, fundraiser vetting, security and fraud protection. Facebook’s goal is to create a platform for good that’s sustainable over the long-term, and not to make a profit from our charitable giving tools.

Your personal fundraiser can raise money to cover costs related to:

  • Education: such as tuition, books or classroom supplies
  • Medical: such as medical procedures, treatments or injuries
  • Pet Medical: such as veterinary procedures, treatments or injuries
  • Crisis Relief: such as public crises or natural disasters
  • Personal Emergency: such as a house fire, theft or car accident
  • Funeral and Loss: such as burial expenses or living costs after losing a loved one

Personal fundraisers allow people to reach friends where they already are to quickly build momentum for their cause. Friends can donate in a few taps with secure payments, without leaving Facebook. Since you can see real profiles on Facebook, donors will see how they are connected to the person who created the fundraiser, the person benefiting and others who are supporting the fundraiser.

Donate Buttons in Facebook Live for Pages

In 2016, we made it possible for people to raise money for more than 750,000 nonprofits through fundraisers, and donate buttons in their live broadcasts and posts. Today, we’re announcing that verified Pages can now add donate buttons to their live broadcasts. This gives public figures, brands, businesses and organizations new ways to fundraise on Facebook for the nonprofits they support. People watching the live broadcast can donate as they watch, or give once the broadcast has ended and is posted on the Page.

We’re constantly inspired by all the good done by people on Facebook and are committed to building tools that help build a supportive and safe global community.