Facebook Live: Now Available to Everyone, Several New Features Announced

Facebook is going all-in on Facebook Live, rolling it out to all users, announcing a host of new features and confirming that it is paying big media companies to use it.

Facebook is going all-in on Facebook Live, rolling it out to all users, announcing a host of new features and confirming that it is paying big media companies to use it.

Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the broad rollout of Facebook Live in a post Wednesday morning, writing:

Today we’re launching Facebook Live for everyone–to make it easier to create, share and discover live videos.

Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. When you interact live, you feel connected in a more personal way. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.

Product management director Fidji Simo introduced several new Facebook Live features in a Newsroom post, including:

  • The addition of Facebook Live to groups and events.
  • The extension of the social network’s Reactions feature to Facebook Live.
  • Comments made on Facebook Live videos will be replayed as they occurred when users view the videos after they go live.
  • Five Live Filters have been added, and Simo said the ability to draw or doodle on Facebook Live videos is coming soon.
  • Users broadcasting Facebook Live videos can tap the invite icon and invite friends to watch live.
  • Facebook added a video icon to its flagship mobile applications, and if users had any doubts about its emphasis on live video, the new video icon takes the place of the icon for Messenger.
  • Facebook for desktop users were not left out, as the social network introduced a Facebook Live Map, alerting users to Facebook Live broadcasts from the more than 60 countries where the feature is available.
  • New metrics are now available for pages sharing Facebook Live videos.

And Simo confirmed to Re/code that the social network has been paying big-name publishers to use Facebook Live, telling Kurt Wagner:

We’re working with a few partners, and in some of the cases, that includes a financial incentive.

Sources told Wagner that the list includes The New York Times, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, and Wagner speculated that Re/code parent Vox Media was also part of the mix.

More details on the new features for Facebook Live follow, from Simo’s Newsroom post:

Live in groups allows you to broadcast to just the people in the Facebook group–so you can go live in your family group, or share a workout plan in a fitness group. Live in events means you can go live from a birthday party to allow those who can’t make it to join the fun, and a performer can go live backstage to the people who’ve RSVP-ed to the event to give them a sneak peek. You can even use events to schedule a live Q&A session.

FacebookLiveGroupsAndroid FacebookLiveGroupsiOS

Live Reactions makes it easy for your viewers to express their feelings in real-time during a live broadcast. Using the same Reactions we launched in News Feed, viewers can select Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry, and the reactions animate right on top of the video. Live Reactions appear in real-time and disappear quickly so broadcasters and other viewers can get a sense of how people are feeling at different points during the live video–it’s like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer. When your friend reacts to your video or to a video you are both watching together, you’ll see their profile picture and a little starburst before their reaction appears.

FacebookLiveReactionsAndroid FacebookLiveReactionsiOS

Simo’s post noted that people comment 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular uploaded videos. She also announced five live filters and soon, broadcasters will have the ability to draw or doodle on their video while live.

FacebookLiveFiltersEtcAndroid FacebookLiveFiltersEtciOS

Facebook is also taking a page from Periscope’s playbook, and showing comments as they happened live on replay views.

FacebookLiveVODCommentsAndroid FacebookLiveVODCommentsiOS

Simo elaborated on other updates:

Simply tap on the invite icon and select the friend you want to invite and they will receive a push notification with your invitation.

FacebookLiveInviteFriendsAndroid FacebookLiveInviteFriendsiOS

FacebookLivePushNotificationAndroid FacebookLivePushNotificationiOS

People don’t want to miss out on great broadcasts that are live right now. So today, we’re starting to roll out a dedicated place on Facebook’s mobile app where you can discover live video that the world is talking about, live video from the friends and creators that matter most to you and live video on topics you’re interested in. From that place, you can also search live and non-live videos, and choose to go live yourself. Simply tap on the new video icon in the app to navigate to this new space.

FacebookLiveVideoDestinationAndroid FacebookLiveVideoDestinationiOS FacebookLiveVideoTopicFeedsAndroid FacebookLiveVideoTopicFeedsiOS FacebookLiveVideoSearchResultsiOS

Finally, if you want a visual way to explore public live broadcasts that are currently happening around the world, today we’re releasing a Facebook Live Map on desktop. People in more than 60 countries can now share live video, and we’ve been inspired by all the different global broadcasts. The Facebook Live Map gives you a window into what’s happening in the world right now.


And product manager Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza provided more details on the new insights for Facebook Live videos in a Facebook Media blog post:

We’ve heard that publishers want to understand how long it takes people to tune in to a live broadcast, how many viewers a broadcast has at its peak, how many viewers are staying and when they’re dropping off. Starting today, page owners can access these metrics for their live videos:

Live broadcast audience: The total number of unique people who watched the video while it was live.

Viewers during live broadcast: A visual representation of the number of viewers during each moment of the live broadcast.

These new metrics are available through page insights and your video library and coming to the application-programming interface and export soon. Simply click on the live video you’d like to see metrics for, and you’ll find the live broadcast audience in a new tab. Click the tab to find the viewers during live broadcast interactive chart.


Readers: What are your initial thoughts on the new features for Facebook Live?

Reactions added to Facebook Live from SocialTimes on Vimeo.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.