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By The Pollack Group

By Diana Brown, The Pollack Group 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.