Facebook Live received browser support, analytics, and other features meant to make its video-streaming platform more appealing to broadcasters.
The service was previously limited in its scope. Facebook allowed people to live-stream only via its mobile apps, didn't offer a lot of information about how videos fared on its service, and made it harder than it necessary to find a video's URL. Now all that has changed, and it almost seems like the company is trying to create a YouTube competitor that Eiffel 65 would be proud of. (Please tell me everyone knew I was referencing "Blue" there.)
Here's Facebook on the reasons behind Live's improvement:
All kinds of publishers have embraced Facebook Live to create authentic experiences for their audiences, bringing them behind the scenes in new, unprecedented ways. [...] We’re listening to broadcasters’ feedback to improve the live video experience on Facebook, and today, we’re excited to share a number of new tools and improvements that will give publishers more control, customization, and flexibility over their broadcasts.
That change starts with browser support. This feature stems from the simple fact that shooting video on a smartphone rarely works as well as using a more stable device. Now, people don't have to buy a new tripod (or worse, a selfie stick) if they want to record themselves in a Live video. They can just sit in front of their computer, use the webcam they already have, and stream their beautiful faces to everyone on Facebook with far less hassle than before.
Of course, streamers will want to know who actually watched their videos. That's why Facebook updated Live with information about how many people have viewed, reacted to, and shared their content. The company will also make it easy for people to view how all these metrics compare over a seven-, 30-, or 60-day period, which could help content creators figure out what resonates with people instead of just guessing at what their viewers want.
Everyone could benefit from those additions. Facebook clearly had broadcasters in mind with these other features:
- The ability to cross-post a Live video to multiple Pages
- Being able to "pin" comments to the top of the stream
- Having a dedicated URL to make it easier for people to find videos
- Letting people stream Live videos to a Page even if they don't manage it
These would all be useful for any outlet managing several Pages with many staffers.
This announcement closely follows the debut of the Facebook Journalism Project, which is also supposed to keep the media happy, albeit in different ways. These expansions to Live are all about giving journalists cool new toys; the Facebook Journalism Project is about helping the media combat the misinformation that spreads on social networks like a wildfire through a drought-stricken forest. (And, you know, identify viral stories on Facebook.)
Some of these new toys, like cross-posting to multiple pages or comment pinning, can already be used. Facebook said others will roll out over the next couple of weeks.