Facebook and Twitter have been swiping features from each other's playbooks for years now, so it's not too surprising that the world's biggest social network saw Twitter's live-streaming app Periscope and thought, "Great idea! Let's do that, too."
Facebook's live-streaming video feature isn't as egalitarian as Periscope. The video tool is only offered inside Facebook's Mentions app, which you will never use because you probably aren't considered an "influencer." (Are you Facebook verified? If not, you can't use Mentions.) The app is designed for high-profile figures like politicians, actors, musicians, and athletes to share content with their fans, and now that content includes live videos.
How it works
If you do have access to Facebook Mentions, you'll see a new Live Video button when you tap to create a new post. Just add a description for your video and tap "Go live" to start broadcasting. The rest of us can comment on your stream, and you'll be able to reply to comments (or hide rotten ones). Streams are automatically saved to celebrity Facebook pages in case fans miss the live stream.
Facebook has already enlisted big names like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Serena Williams, Martha Stewart, and more to live-stream on Mentions. But just because celebrities are doing the filming doesn't mean Facebook's live-streamed videos are any more interesting than your standard variety.
So live-streamed video isn't always thrilling, but it can be the perfect way to peek into someone's life or events happening in another part of the world, as Periscope and Meerkat users would attest. Periscope still hovers just outside the top 50 free apps in the iOS App Store (just above Tinder), so clearly live-streaming isn't just a fad. We'll see if celebrities can elevate the art.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.