Facebook is supposed to be the global arbiter of what is new and cool with the kids. This month, it appears to be live-streaming video.
Facebook Live, a feature that allows users to live-broadcast video from their smartphones, has been around for a few months. It started as a tool for celebrities, and then expanded to media companies and any verified pages. Recently it expanded that functionality to all users, and now it’s making video even more prominent.
Starting today, there’s a dedicated Video tab within the Facebook app, a geolocation map that shows streams around the world, and Snapchat-esque doodles and black-and-white options.
Add it all together, and it’s clear that Facebook is intending this to be a tool for the masses, rather than a broadcast option for public figures or brands who use Facebook Live right now. It’s also a smack in the face to services like Periscope, Twitch and YouTube, which have dominated the livestreaming market so far.
Is this actually going to change anything for the average Facebook user? It’s difficult to tell right now, but it’s clear that Facebook itself is sold on the idea. The company has been paying celebrities and media companies to use Facebook Live, in an attempt to make the platform popular. Bribing brands to use a service is obviously not a long-term strategy, so whether Facebook Live turns out to be a pivotal change or the next Poke remains to be seen.