Want to chime in? Viewers can now ask to join any Instagram live-stream

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Instagram is better with friends — and now the social media platform allows viewers to request to join a live-stream to become part of the broadcast. On Tuesday, November 21, Instagram launched the ability to request to join a live-stream, a feature that expands the shared live-stream options that first launched three weeks ago.

While viewing a live video, a new request button allows you to ask to join the live-stream. If the host accepts the invitation, the screen will split, with the bottom half containing a display that tells the guest to prepare to go live, with a brief countdown before joining the stream. Guests can also leave the live-stream at any time.

For hosts, requests to join the stream will show up as a new smile icon at the bottom right of the screen, with a red notification icon showing the number of requests. While streaming, hosts can see the request in the comments section, then accept to share the stream or ignore the request.

The feature expands on the shared live-stream tools globally launched in October after testing the feature with a select group of users in August. While streaming, hosts can still invite any viewer that is tuned into the stream to join in on the broadcast instead of waiting for requests. Instagram says live video hosts can remove guests and add another at any time during the stream. And like earlier live videos, those videos can be added to Stories or discarded after the stream ends.

“Going live together is the best way to connect in real time and have fun with friends, even when you’re not together,” Instagram’s official announcement reads. “With this update, friends have even more ways to quickly join each other’s live videos.”

The update continues Instagram’s expansion of live video after launching the feature late in 2016 with a global rollout in January of this year. Along with sharing the stream, Instagram added the ability to use augmented reality face filters in real time earlier this fall. Those updates followed the option to save a live video in the spring, with the option to add to Stories for 24 hours following in June.