Facebook has announced a considerable expansion of its live-streaming capabilities. Facebook Live now offers a native collaborative streaming option, allowing you to broadcast with a friend and start group chats about a video. It’s part of the company’s ongoing efforts to convince every user to start live streaming.
Facebook unveiled the new features in a blog post this week. It said it is focusing on making Live more fun, social, and interactive by allowing you to engage with friends while you’re making a recording. The latest additions go a long way toward achieving this by better integrating Live with Facebook’s other core platform capabilities.
Live Chat With Friends
The first major feature is called Live Chat With Friends. It lets you talk about what’s happening during a live broadcast with your friends. Previously, you could only comment in a public thread, allowing everyone watching the stream to see your thoughts. Facebook recognized that this isn’t ideal if you want to start a lasting conversation on a topic.
Live Chat With Friends allows you to add your Facebook friends to a private chat about any live broadcast. If your friends aren’t already watching the stream, you can invite them anyway to get everyone involved. You can switch between the public and private chats at any time, letting you continue to respond to comments that everyone can see.
“Live Chat With Friends lets you invite friends to a private chat about a public live broadcast,” said Facebook. “With Live Chat With Friends, you can be part of big moments with the wider community but also have the option to participate in personal conversations with the people closest to you, directly within the Live experience.”
Conversations made with Live Chats With Friends will be archived in Messenger once the broadcast has ended. You can continue the conversation or resume it at a later date. It ensures you don’t lose everything that was said, another issue with the previous public-only chatroom.
The second big feature is Live With. This lets you invite a guest into your Facebook Live broadcasts, even if you’re in different locations. Once you’ve started your stream, you can add another participant by tapping a person in the “Live Viewers” section of the screen. The other user will be prompted to confirm they want to join. If they agree, Facebook Live will switch into a split-screen window that lets your viewers see you and your guest simultaneously.
Live View is Facebook’s attempt to make Live more socially appealing. It could be especially useful to new users who are making their first stream. Rather than awkwardly staring at the camera and waiting for followers to arrive, a collaboration with a close friend could make everything easier and more natural. You’ll be able to invite somebody else to guide you around Live and avoid the embarrassment of an unsuccessful stream.
Making Live More Meaningful
The new features will help Facebook to grow Live as it seeks to convince people to welcome others into their everyday lives. Although Live has already proven popular with early adopters, Facebook still has hundreds of millions of people to convert to the new format.
By making Live more social, Facebook can improve the situation. As its entire platform is built on the value of connections and collaboration, strengthening the role of these qualities in Live should help to solidify its structure and enable a mass movement to adopt the technology. If your friend is on Live and they ask to help you make your first stream, you’re more likely to start broadcasting than if you’re left to explore the feature on your own.
Facebook Live still has significant challenges to overcome though. In recent months, the platform has faced multiple major controversies concerning live-streamed videos of violence, abuse, suicide, and killings.
In many cases, Facebook’s response has been a long way from what’s required of it. During the company’s developers conference last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Facebook “has more work” to do to fix the problem. Until this is solved, new user-facing social features will only go so far toward securing Live’s success.
Live Chat With Friends and Live With will start to roll out to Facebook Live users on mobile devices in the summer. They are already in testing with users in several countries worldwide, so it’s possible you may receive access earlier than other people you know.
[Featured Image by Facebook]