Facebook announced this morning a slew of updates to its livestreaming product, Live — furthering its push into the medium after tweaking an algorithm last month so that users would see more streams in their feeds and also reportedly paying celebrities (and media companies like BuzzFeed and The New York Times) who commit to regularly using the feature.
The first update will enable users to go live within a more intimate circle of friends and family members, describes product management director Fidji Somo, including within Facebook Groups and Events. In addition to going live within a family Group or a fitness Group, for instance, “Live in Events means you can go live from a birthday party to allow those that can’t make it to join the fun,” according to Somo. Hosts can also broadcast preview streams to those that have already RSVP’d to their Events, and even schedule live Q&A sessions about forthcoming Events.
Facebook is also taking a page out of the Periscope playbook with what it’s calling a Live Reactions feature. Viewers can now deploy the same reaction emojis as on Newsfeeds — including ‘Love’, ‘Haha’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, or ‘Angry’ — to respond to streams in real-time. (Periscope, for its part, lets viewers shower broadcasters with hearts as a kind of real-time applause system.) Facebook is also adding Instagram-like filters and Snapchat-like doodling features to Live.
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Given that “people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos,” according to Facebook, the company said it would also replay comments on Live videos even when those videos are no longer live.
And in order to give broadcasters a better sense of how many people are watching their streams, Facebook is rolling out two new metrics: “total live viewers during a broadcast, and a new chart showing the number of concurrent live viewers over time.”
Finally, Facebook is seeking to amp up Live’s discoverability with several new features, including the option to invite friends to broadcasts, as well as a brand new dedicated space within the Facebook app where users can search for live and non-live videos. A new Facebook Live Map on desktops is also available so that users can visually explore public live broadcasts as they’re happening around the world.
Check out a video showcasing some of the new features in action below: