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How to Use Facebook Video Chat

Video Chat is a fairly new addition to Facebook, which is why you may or may not see the video camera icon at the top of each chat window. Facebook’s Video Chat is actually powered by Skype, an Internet telephone service. If you see the video icon, you can initiate video chat with a friend. Keep in mind that you can video chat with only one friend at a time.

Here’s how to begin a video chat:

  1. Begin a chat with a friend by selecting his name from the Chat menu.

    This opens a chat window.

  2. Click the video icon to begin video chat.

    If you’ve already set up video calling, this step begins the call. A pop-up window appears, letting you know that Facebook is calling your friend.

    If you haven’t yet used video calling, a pop-up window appears, asking you if you want to set up video calling.

    If you aren't asked to set up video calling, skip to Step 4.

  3. Click Set Up or Install.

    This initiates a file download. Each web browser and operating system may have slightly different instructions. In general, you need to save the file to your hard drive and run it to complete the setup.

    After the setup is complete, a new pop-up window appears telling you that Facebook is calling your friend. In the future, you’ll be able to skip Step 3 and go straight to Step 4 when you want to use Video Chat.

  4. Wait for your friend to pick up.

    When he does, a video of him appears in a new window above Facebook. A video of you (what your friend is seeing) appears in the upper corner of this window.

  5. To end the call, close the window.

Video Chat assumes both people have webcams either built in or installed in their computers. If you don’t have a webcam, Video Chat isn’t really for you.

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