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Communications Facebook IOS Social Networks

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

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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  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson