Facebook's Live Video Push Continues With Video Tab on Mobile, Live Reactions and Filters
Facebook is continuing to take its live video service very seriously, prominently placing live video on mobile and rolling out some new features for users today.
The company will now show a dedicated tab on the mobile app where people can see live video. The company last year tested a tab, but in its statement on the updates it billed it as a dedicated part of the 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."
Facebook, not to let desktop totally languish, is also adding what it's calling a Facebook Live Map on desktop, which it said will allow people more than 60 countries to share live video.
For now, live videos don't have a specific ad format.
Facebook recently had been interested in getting global live streaming rights for NFL's Thursday Night Football, but the company was said to have backed off the deal. Yesterday, Twitter announced that it had struck a deal to obtain the rights.
Facebook in the last year-plus has made video a massive priority, going after the likes of YouTube. It started taking livestreaming more seriously back in August, a move that came after services like Periscope had already entered the space, but only offered it for celebrities. In a gradual process from December through February, it made live video available to non-celebrities in the U.S. And in March, the company updated the algorithm controlling what content displays in people's news feeds so that live video would rank better.
Facebook users will also now be able post live videos to groups and on event pages. With groups, people can broadcast something to members of a group rather than every one of their Facebook friends. With events, they can broadcast live to an event's page -- a friend's birthday party, for example, or a live Q&A session before an event. A performer could also broadcast live backstage to people who have RSVP'd to an event, said Facebook in a statement.
"We hope this new ability to both broadcast and watch live video within Groups and Events enables people to connect more deeply with their closest friends, family and the communities of people who share their interests," the statement said.
Facebook is also adding reactions to live videos. People will be able to apply the reactions that Facebook recently rolled out -- Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry --- to make the reactions appear on top of the live video for a short time. They'll also quickly disappear, so that people can see other people's reactions throughout the video.
If a person is watching the same video as a friend, users will see each other's profile pictures and a small starburst before their reaction appears.
Even if people do not watch a video in real time, Facebook will include reactions when the video is watched later on. "Live video on Facebook is truly interactive as broadcasters engage with their commenters and respond to their suggestions and questions. In fact, from initial data, we've seen that people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. We want people watching the broadcast after the fact to feel 'in' on the action."
As Snapchat has done before it, Facebook is also now introducing filters, which will be available for live video. Soon people will be able to draw on the videos while they're live.
And the company said Wednesday that publishers and video creators would be able to measure total live viewers during broadcast.