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Facebook Live takes on Snapchat, Periscope with new features and design

Facebook is beefing up its live-streaming platform with three new features announced at VidCon on Wednesday.

First up for Facebook Live is the ability to broadcast with another person who’s in a different location. So instead of spouting off by yourself about an issue close to your heart, you’ll be able to bring in a friend to turn it into discussion. Or a slanging match, depending on how civil you choose to be. On another level, the option to pull in an additional user in a different location could introduce new possibilities for marketers, celebrities, and media outlets, with the potential to create far richer real-time experiences for viewers.

Wacky face filters

Next, in a swipe at Snapchat, Facebook Live is introducing a bunch of wacky face filters from the MSQRD app it acquired back in March. MSQRD’s clever technology adds – in real time – a range of weird and wonderful masks to your mug. If you’re an entertainer who’s not very entertaining, this feature is certain to come in handy as a way of jazzing up your live-streams.

Finally, Facebook Live will let broadcasters schedule events and send notifications to users. It’s also introducing a kind of virtual lobby that gives viewers somewhere to wait until a broadcast begins. This helps the broadcaster ensure that as many people as possible are cued up when the show kicks off.

The new features will land in the next couple of months for Verified Pages before being made available to all users soon after.

Related: Lights, smartphone, action! How to master Facebook Live streaming

Facebook is working hard to knock its live-stream feature into shape as it seeks to take on the likes of Twitter-owned Periscope, and also Google’s YouTube, which has just announced live-streaming for its own mobile apps.

Besides the new features announced on Thursday, Facebook’s strategy includes getting lots of media companies and celebrities on board, with a report earlier this week claiming it’s spent more than $50 million on a host of big names for new Facebook Live content.

If you didn’t already know it, mobile live-streaming is all the rage at the moment, with everyone from regular users to famous personalities to news outlets experimenting with the platform. Heck, even politicians are discovering interesting uses for it.