One of Facebook’s newest features is live videos, and the company announced Facebook Live in a post on its website today. The feature enables users to share their moments as they’re happening with followers and friends on Facebook and to respond immediately to their comments.
Facebook Live gets rolled out to broader audience
The social network is just starting to roll out live videos to all accounts, although the feature has been available to verified accounts since last summer through the Mentions app. U.S users were next to receive access to the features through Facebook’s iOS and Android apps, and Product Management Director Fidji Simo said they were “surprised and delighted with how people are using live video to connect and interact with each other all over the world.”
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Today Facebook is enabling live video access to Facebook Groups and Facebook Events. For Facebook Groups, this means that anyone who belongs to a particular group on the social network can watch the live video set up by the group’s administrators. Live in Events allows users to set up a live video stream from an event like a birthday party which has been created on the social network.
Interactions on Facebook Live
There are a few different types of interactions available on Facebook Live. One is Live Reactions, which allows viewers of the live streams to express their feelings in real time. The company recently added new reactions beyond the traditional “like,” which are “sad,” angry,” “Wow,” “love,” and “haha.” The reactions become animations that appear on top of the live video in real time, although they disappear quickly so as not to disrupt the viewing experience.
Viewers can also comment on live videos, and Facebook said people comment more than ten times more on live videos than they do on regular ones. The social network said in order to help people feel like they’re a part of the action, it replays comments as they happened during the live stream whenever the video is watched later.
Facebook is also adding Live Filters so users can personalize their live streams. Today the social network is launching five but intends to add a drawing or doodling feature at some point in the future. Users can also invite a friend to watch the same live video they’re watching by tapping on the invite icon and picking the friend they want to invite. Facebook will then send a push notification with the invitation to watch.
How to set up live videos on Facebook
There’s a dedicated section on the mobile app where users can see live video others are talking about, plus live video from friends and those they follow. There’s also an interactive map for those who want to browse public live streams through the Facebook Live Map. The social network is rolling out the Live feature to over 60 countries. To explore live videos being shared by friends or pages you follow or browse live videos being shared publicly, just look for the Video tab that’s front and center on the iOS and Android Facebook apps.
If you’re ready to get directly into the fun immediately by launching your own live video, it’s very simple:
- Open the Facebook app on either your iOS or Android phone.
- Tap on the edit icon (which looks like a little pencil on a square) from your Timeline or News Feed.
- Then tap on the Facebook Live icon, which looks like a person with two rings around their head.
- If you want, write a description for the live video.
- Tap “Go Live,” and the stream will begin.
- When you’re ready to end the stream, tap “Finish.”
While the live video is up, you’ll be able to see how many people are watching and their names, and a real-time log of the comments that people are making about it. Live videos can be up to 30 minutes in length, and they will post on your Timeline like a regular video after you finish the stream. You can also block users by tapping the profile picture that appears next to their comments and then tapping “Block.”