Facebook has spent a lot of time and resources over the past year beefing up its video capabilities, and one aspect of that is its Live feature, which originally allowed celebrities and verified accounts to stream live video. Now it is expanding that ability to any brand or corporation with a verified page.
The social network said Friday that it is starting to roll out the new feature to all verified pages, but only through the iOS client for now. Android support is coming later.
The Live feature was first available in August, to users of the social network's Mentions app, which was designed to allow celebrities and those with large Facebook followings to broadcast messages to their fans. It has been used by comedian Ricky Gervais and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon — who broadcasts live rehearsals of the show — and news agencies such as Al Jazeera have used it to stream live news.
Starting a Live broadcast is as simple as going to your page and clicking "Publish" and then choosing "Live Video," Facebook says. Users can also click a "subscribe" button and be notified the next time a specific page or user goes live with video.
"Select Live Video and write a quick description before going live. During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of viewers, the names of other verified people or Pages who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments. When you end your broadcast, it will be published on your Timeline so that fans who missed it can watch the video at a later time."
Facebook's moves into video pose a potential threat to a number of existing players in the field, including YouTube and Periscope, the live-streaming app that Twitter acquired that has become popular with users as a way to stream breaking news.
The giant social network already has more than four billion video views a day on the platform, although the quality of those views is debatable, since a view is defined as anything more than three seconds.