When Facebook introduced live video capabilities earlier this year, it was exclusively for celebrities and other elite users. The feature was tacked onto the Facebook Mentions app, which the social network offers only to high-profile figures–or, as of September, verified users–who want to interact with fans easily and monitor chatter about themselves. Facebook is now opening up live video to all users, giving Periscope and Meerkat some competition in the process.
Starting today, Facebook is gradually rolling out live streaming through its iOS app; the posts will show up in the news feed. By clicking on the “Live Video” button, which will be listed as a status update option, users can broadcast videos to their friends. They can see real-time comments, which people are watching their stream, and the number of total viewers. There’s one key difference between Facebook’s service and other platforms like Periscope: Once recorded, videos will be archived and viewable on a user’s timeline.
In a blog post, Facebook noted that the new functionality is aimed at interacting with close contacts, rather than the wide net cast by streams on Meerkat or Periscope. The post cites “visiting a new place, cooking your favorite recipe, or just want(ing) to share some thoughts” as potential use cases.
[via The Verge]