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Communications Facebook IOS Social Networks

Messenger App Brings Free VoIP to US Facebook Users — At a Price 58

Posted by timothy
from the race-for-the-bottom dept.
The Washington Post (among many others) reports on a development from Facebook that may excite many more users than does the much-hyped announcement about richer search capabilities: after launching a Canadian trial balloon not long ago, Facebook is expanding the reach of its free in-app VoiP communications with free voice comms via the company's smartphone app. "Excite" for some people will also mean "infuriate": to get the free candy, the recipient will need to have shared his or her number with Facebook, which many people will understandably be loath to do. From the WaPo article: "To use the feature, Facebook users must hit the 'i' info icon in the corner or a conversation or contact information page. That panel has a 'Free Call' button that you can use if your friend has shared a mobile number with Facebook and is available for a call. The company slowly has been building out the features available in chat — most notably with the 2011 Skype partnership that put video calling on the Web version of its site. When it released Facebook Messenger last fall, it became even clearer that messaging and mobile applications were priorities for the company."
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Messenger App Brings Free VoIP to US Facebook Users — At a Price

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  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @12:46PM (#42617587) Homepage Journal

    That panel has a 'Free Call' button that you can use if your friend has shared a mobile number with Facebook

    Based only on the summary, it appears this won't work for someone who has a land line and a Wi-Fi-only tablet, such as an iPod touch, iPad, Nexus 7, etc. The article mentions the iPod but doesn't say one way or the other whether there's a provision for iPod touch users.

    • I wonder if this takes advantage of the QoS features inherent in the mobile network that might not be available otherwise. A typical internet connection does not get QoS service.
  • Irrational (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @12:53PM (#42617657)
    There is no way for this service to work if Facebook doesn't have the reciepients number. Someone must have the recipients number in order for a connection to be created. Getting angry over that seems really irrational. Putting your phone number in Facebook is a step above putting it in the phonebook. At least with Facebook you can restrict viewing the info to friends or friends of friends.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do they need the phone number? If I understand correctly everything about the 'call' is being handled by the application and the facebook username. Same as using Skype, Facetime, Yahoo voice chat.

      • Not sure about Skype but Yahoo voice chat and Facetime require the reciepient to have those applications installed on their phone. You can't make a Facetime call to an Android phone. You can't use Yahoo to call a flip phone. This allows call to any mobile phone number listed in Facebook.
        • by krakelohm (830589)
          Right, you have to have the app installed but you dont need to give them your phone number. Facetime can bet setup to use either your phone number or an email, not sure about yahoo.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You don't understand correctly. The facebook app can call any phone number that is listed in facebook. The recipient doesn't need to be running facebook messenger to receive a call. Skype and other voip providers have similar capabilities, but it usually isn't free.

    • Re:Irrational (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:07PM (#42617793) Homepage

      At least with Facebook you can restrict viewing the info to friends or friends of friends.

      And any advertiser Facebook decides they want to share it with.

      • Unless the user is in Europe. I don't see why many users would be loath to give up their phone numbers anyway, they've already given up photographs, locations, areas of residence, email addresses, basically everything else.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dishevel (1105119)

          Good for you.
          Me. I do not give a shit.
          I share nothing with Facebook and will continue to not use it.
          I do not find my life empty and without purpose. I am not missing invites to my (real) friends birthday parties or get togethers.
          I have about 40 - 50 people in my life. Friends, family and co workers I give a shit about. I find no need of having 500 -600 Facebook "friends".
          Not sure how I would have a life if I had 500 real life friends. Even with social networking to make it a bit easier.
          I think that many peo

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Unless the user is in Europe. I don't see why many users would be loath to give up their phone numbers anyway, they've already given up photographs, locations, areas of residence, email addresses, basically everything else.

          Hell, for a time Facebook required you to give them a number to send you a text if you wanted to avoid seeing a captcha every other click. So I'm not really sure that people wouldn't have shared a phone number with Facebook to begin with.

          It's not quite like Google's request for your phone

      • Allowing advertisers to directly contact users would go against Facebooks entire business model, which is to be the middleman that matches advertisers to users and takes money off the top. Of all the things that worry me about Facebook, them selling my info directly to advertisers is not one of them.
      • by Sepodati (746220)

        Advertisers buy advertising space based on keywords or other criteria. The keyword could be an area code of XXX, meaning Facebook will show their add X000 times to users with an XXX area code. The advertisers don't get a list of X000 people with matching area code, their ad just gets presented.

        Thats how it's described, at least.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      At least with Facebook you can restrict viewing the info to friends or friends of friends.

      Do you really think that by clicking on various buttons in Facebook, that you're actually restricting access to your information? Are you joking, perhaps?
  • by koan (80826)

    Disguised as a VOIP feature it is the surest way to confirm who owns that Facebook page and get a sample of your voice as well.

    Why?

  • by Ollabelle (980205) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:10PM (#42617829)
    The warnings in Facebook's reports to the SEC always mention advertising revenue on mobile phones as one of their challenges. And this is how they will build their database of mobile phone numbers.

    At some point, they'll "streamline" the privacy settings so the numbers will be shareable, visible, etc. so the advertising revenue can start coming in.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So why not just set up a google voice number that you can ditch if you start getting spammed?

      • by Ollabelle (980205)
        I suppose you can. But if you're actually using this app, tossing the phone no. will disconnect you from using it with all your friends. It becomes a balance of convenience and hassle, and I expect Facebook will rely on that.
        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Why ditch it when you can put the stupid spammers on a blocking group and send them permanantly and quietly to VoiceJail on GV?

          Stil...I find Faceplant's price a bit too steep. It's hardly free.

    • by jovius (974690)

      One's 'private' Facebook is already infested with ads on every content, so users are used to the fact that their space is invaded. Once the ads appear on your video phone call streams hardly anyone will protest and question the practice...

  • Correct Number (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jsm18 (1317959) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:12PM (#42617851)

    Has anyone tried to do this with an incorrect phone number? If the call is locating you based on your Facebook ID, then the phone number shouldn't matter, but who knows how Facebook implemented the feature.

    I don't have an iPhone, or I would check this myself.

    • Re:Correct Number (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:32PM (#42618039)

      I wonder if a Google Voice cell phone would work. It does text and voice. I can forward the call or not for a do not bug me mode. I have a Google Voice number I give out to salesmen and scammers to protect my regular cell phone.

      I use my GV number to call back collection agencies that keep calling my landline looking for it's prior owner to complain. If I call from another number to complain, they don't put it in their database that someone took the call.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        I use my Google voice number exclusively.
        If I get spamed I can just click a button on my browser and block that number forever.
        Works great. You also never know when a person you want to give your number to will change into a person you wish you had never given your number to.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:15PM (#42617869) Homepage Journal
    Hence this service which depends on it is not either.
  • by realsilly (186931) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:37PM (#42618099)

    ... and now not only all your Facebook Posts with the person you're having an affair with won't be the only thing used in divorce court. Now all your instant messages and the actual discussions you've had with your lover will be fodder for the Cheated on spouse in an UGLY divorce.

    Oh what a time it is for divorce attorneys.

  • "Messenger App Brings Free VoIP to US Facebook Users - At a Price"

    /blink
    /head asplodes
  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @02:25PM (#42618645) Homepage
    15 years ago you could get free calls to any US landline from the browser without even (as far as I recall) requiring a login. What happened to you, Internet? You used to be cool.
    • by Mitreya (579078)

      15 years ago you could get free calls to any US landline from the browser without even (as far as I recall) requiring a login.

      15 years ago everyone thought you could make millions from a business that is losing money as long as you just increase the volume far enough.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      While requiring a login, you CAN do that with Google Voice right now... Still is cool. It's just Faceplant that's retarded...

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:19PM (#42619831)
    ...Facebook gives me yet another reason to raise my middle finger at them. The sad part is that a big lot of Facebook users will think that this new "service" is just swell.

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