In August 2015, Facebook launched Live to limited verified VIP users. Facebook provided money and other incentives to famous users and publishers in order to initially promote the Live service. In 2016, Facebook Live was first publically launched to iOS users with support for other devices to use Live, including professional cameras and drones.
Allowing users to broadcast live video is Facebook’s response to competing services like Youtube, Meerkat and Periscope. Facebook Live leverages the website’s existing audience, the largest audience in the world, to compete with similar live services.
To use Facebook Live:
- Launch the mobile app, and at the top of the news feed or profile select the Live icon below where you enter status responding to: “What’s on your mind?”
- Grant permission for the app to use your camera to record video, if you have not already done so.
- Choose the privacy level from among public sharing, all friends, friends except those specified, or only for yourself.
- Write a description for the video.
- Specify the location and tag friends to draw their attention to the post.
- Once the camera is aimed as desired, tap “Go Live” at the bottom of the screen.
- A square formatted video is started.
Facebook Live videos support live commenting, screen writing, filters, vertical or horizontal video mirroring and reactions from viewers. Users can also block specific viewers if they desire. While the maximum time limit for a broadcast was initially 30 minutes, users can now stay live for up to four hours.