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

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the race-for-the-bottom dept.

Communications 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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Share a mobile vs. land line number (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42617587)

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.

Re:Share a mobile vs. land line number (1)

HaynieMatt (755882) | about 2 years ago | (#42618087)

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.

First.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617593)

--,No Carrier - DHS connection lost

Remember telephone books? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617649)

[quote]which many people will understandably be loath to do[/quote]

Leave the judgmental attitude at the door, /.. I can perfectly well think for myself, thank you very much.

Re:Remember telephone books? (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#42617677)

Apparently not.

Re:Remember telephone books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42619801)

Yes Facebook does remember telephone books and has internally scanned and linked your account to your land line number. This is to get your unlisted mobile number.

Irrational (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617727)

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.

Re:Irrational (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#42617857)

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.

Re:Irrational (2)

krakelohm (830589) | about 2 years ago | (#42618051)

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.

Re:Irrational (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42618349)

idots?

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42620685)

They're like slashdots, but erect.

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42618117)

Yahoo Messenger App permissions:

Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.

(source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yahoo.mobile.client.android.im)

Re:Irrational (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617955)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42619565)

You have an odd notion of "free". There's a price- whether it has a monetary one or another form of fungible remuneration is irrelevant.

Quite honestly, Skype's price is quite a bit cheaper than Facebook's right now.

Re:Irrational (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42617793)

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.

Re:Irrational (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#42618299)

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:Irrational (2, Interesting)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#42618441)

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 people do not even know what a friend is anymore.
My life is full and I have 10% of the "friends" that many Facebook users have.

Re:Irrational (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#42619441)

Er, what you said and what I said have nothing to do with one another.

Re:Irrational (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42619631)

My point is that the stupid unwashed Facebook masses will of course see no problem with giving up their phone number as well.
That is of course one of the proofs that they are stupid.
So you go ahead and give Facebook your address, date of birth, cell phone number, all your friends and the places you like to go.
I am sure that they will be kind with that info as they always have been,
Just because stupid people will give up the info does not make it smart.

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42621155)

I think you're very confused. You should go back and re-read Intrepid imaginaut's original comment.

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42620321)

Ignore him, he just wanted a place to put his "I'm too smart for facebook" ego stroking somewhere.

Re:Irrational (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42620851)

40-50 friends is already way too high.
I don't most of these are really your friends.

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42620949)

As stated in the post 40 - 50 is the number of

Friends, family and co workers I give a shit about.

So. No. It is about right.
Also if you worked a bit on your grammar you might have a few more. :)

Re:Irrational (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42619995)

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 number, but it was one way to avoid the captcha.

Re:Irrational (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 2 years ago | (#42618801)

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.

Re:Irrational (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 2 years ago | (#42619333)

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.

why would they do that? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 2 years ago | (#42625625)

show me ads relevant to where I lived seven years ago?

http://xkcd.com/1129/ [xkcd.com]

Re: Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617911)

well when you make a Skype to Skype call do you need a recipients number? no you don't. so what fb is telling us is that they want to offer more than just VoIP capability to their social media profile. they also want deeper integration. the deeper the integration the more personal and relevant the fb ads can be and all the other ways a social media giant can continue to expand. why not let fb know everything?

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42618097)

You must be as brain damaged as your username indicates. The article does not say you can make free calls to any number. Other sources say that you can only connect to other facebook users with the mobile app so it's worse than Skype. This is like having Microsoft demand your cell phone number to make free Skype to Skype calls.

Re:Irrational (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42618107)

Sure there is: use SIP, or some other VoIP protocol. Now, they have to be online for SIP to work, so this won't let you wake them up in the middle of the night when you're drunk, but that is, as far as many of us are concerned, a feature.

Re:Irrational (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42618387)

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?

Laugh (2)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#42617667)

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?

Re:Laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617717)

OMG I bet Verizon has that data too! O NOEZ!

Re:Laugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617737)

"This is the Federal Bureau of Investigations. How may we direct your call?"

Re:Laugh (3, Funny)

derfy (172944) | about 2 years ago | (#42618353)

Duh. So you can hack together:

"Hello. I am the system administrator. My voice is my passport. Verify me."

Offering Android system with SIP Voice. CND only (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42617689)

SIP voice service comes with a number(Any City), voicemail, unlimited calling(Any Major CND city, outside is 1.5c min), call forwarding.

IT IS FREE!

There is no monthly bill. So any time you connect your phone to a net connection you will have an incoming number and outgoing service. Throw it in a drawer for years and it will work!

More importantly because it's not an app on the phone you can switch application, switch service, switch phones etc. without dealing with the companies involved and with the most common portable and well tested system (SIP VOIP is uised in almost all major corporations).

emai: deliverancelev4@hotmail.com for details

That's how they'll jump to mobile phone spamming. (5, Insightful)

Ollabelle (980205) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:That's how they'll jump to mobile phone spammin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42618251)

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

Re:That's how they'll jump to mobile phone spammin (1)

Ollabelle (980205) | about 2 years ago | (#42618625)

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.

Re:That's how they'll jump to mobile phone spammin (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 2 years ago | (#42619611)

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.

Re:That's how they'll jump to mobile phone spammin (1)

jovius (974690) | about 2 years ago | (#42619189)

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 (3, Insightful)

jsm18 (1317959) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Correct Number (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#42618515)

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.

My cell phone air time is not free (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#42617869)

Hence this service which depends on it is not either.

A better way to collect data on you.... (2)

realsilly (186931) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:A better way to collect data on you.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42619653)

Heh... That could already be done- they could subpoena your phone's SMS logs. (Oh, you've deleted them? Spoilation of evidence!)

Evidently you've never been party to an UGLY divorce... The other party will have committed acts of adultery, allege your having done the same even though it's clear you've not, try to lay claim to all sorts of things that they FLATLY don't have even rights to if you were at fault. This stuff? Heh... Low piker stuff, seriously.

off topic (1)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | about 2 years ago | (#42618219)

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

/blink
/head asplodes

Anyone remember Dialpad? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#42618645)

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.

Re:Anyone remember Dialpad? (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#42618897)

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.

Re:Anyone remember Dialpad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42620373)

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.

Now only the FED still believes in that business model.

QE FTW.

Re:Anyone remember Dialpad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42619065)

When I used Dialpad circa 2000 it required a login.

Re:Anyone remember Dialpad? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 2 years ago | (#42619673)

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

Re:Anyone remember Dialpad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42621137)

What happened to you, Internet? You used to be cool.

Facebook.

This just in... (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Cool, a self-slashdotting ariticle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42620909)

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/01/17/1757206/facebook-lets-you-harvest-account-phone-numbers

Combine with Google Voice! (1)

Cyfun (667564) | about 2 years ago | (#42621941)

There's an easy way to fix a bunch of these problems: Use Google Voice in the middle.

Firstly, GV is for all intensive purposes a mobile provider since it can receive text, so FB should have no problem letting you confirm it on your FB profile.

Second, you can easily configure your GV account to handle calls from FB in a certain manner, such as screen them, send them to VM, or forward them to another number of your choice.

Ooooooor you could just say "fuck Facebook" and use GoogleTalk and Google Voice by themselves!

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