Illustration by Max Fleishman

Facebook just overhauled its Live video streaming feature

Going Live is now better than ever.

Feb 29, 2020, 9:06 am*



Selena Larson

Facebook and the media are unavoidable bedfellows, and its Live video efforts are just one more way Facebook is encouraging the media to use its platform for creating and distributing original content. On Wednesday, Facebook rolled out new features for Live to push everyone further towards video content on Facebook. 

The company is paying media organizations like Buzzfeed and the New York Times to stream using Live, the one-tap live streaming feature that Facebook rolled out to all users in December, Recode reports. It’s a popular feature thanks, in part, to Live video appearing higher in news feeds and users getting push notifications when a page they like starts streaming.

And users seem to like watching videos on Facebook—one Live video from BuzzFeed Food featuring people deep-frying things amassed almost two million views in just two days. 

To encourage more people and brands to stream Live, Facebook introduced a slew of new options for sharing and engaging with video. With Facebook Live you can now: 

  • Go Live in Groups and Events
  • See Live Reactions to your video with the same icons that replaced Like button
  • Use Live Filters 
  • Send an invitation to a friend to watch Live with you
  • Find Live video in a dedicated place on mobile
  • Watch video from more than 60 countries on Facebook’s Live Map

The company said it will also soon let people doodle directly on their videos while streaming Live.


Facebook’s updates make it easier to discover and watch Live, and share their thoughts with the video’s creator. The Live Reactions are like those in Periscope, which lets creators briefly see comments or feedback on their videos in real-time. 

According to Facebook, people comment 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than other videos that pop up in their feeds, showing that users like to engage in the real-time activity, and likely have a better chance of being read by creators.

Ultimately Live gets people to spend more time on Facebook. While Twitter-owned Periscope targets real-time viewers in Twitter’s audience, with Live, Facebook is attempting to become a real-time feed, too, and its reach is much, much greater.

While you can go back and view Live video once it’s stopped recording, the benefit of watching videos as they happen include engaging with creators and fellow fans. The format is also prime for Q&A sessions with celebrities or high-profile figures. On Tuesday, over 100,000 people watched Martha Stewart bake things and answer questions from fans. 

Facebook hasn’t made attempts to monetize the videos yet; they remain ad-free for now. Instead, the company is trying to amplify its adoption by paying companies to stream, hoping to get people as addicted to Facebook Live as much as their news feeds.

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*First Published: Apr 6, 2016, 1:39 pm