Facebook wants you to ditch Periscope and watch live video in its News Feed

facebook news hire
bloomua / 123rf
Facebook has made no secret of its ambition to compete with live broadcasting apps like Periscope and Meerkat. The social network recently rolled out Facebook Live, its live-streaming video tool to smartphone users in 60 countries, and now it’s building on that service in a big way. A few of the new additions include a new video tab on Facebook’s mobile apps, exclusive content, and a bevy of new tools for broadcasters and viewers alike.

The new features are most visible on mobile devices, since that’s where most live-broadcasting apps live. In the coming weeks, archived and live streams will appear in a new video tab on Android and iOS for “a very small percentage” of users. The video tab replaces Messenger in the app,  just in case there was ever cause to doubt Facebook’s oft-repeated promise to sever its core app’s ties with Messenger.

T-Mobile Offer: Buy the LG G5 and get a free battery and cradle bundle

The section will look a bit familiar to folks who’ve dabbled in Twitch or Periscope. It’s a swipeable, scrollable list of content demarcated by user, popularity, and topic. Videos from around the world that have gone viral on Facebook show up near the top, and below them, you’ll see recordings from the friends and pages you follow. There’s a search function so you can find videos by categories like “U.S. News” and “TV & Movies,” and a prominent “Go Live” button lets you contribute a broadcast of your own.


The changes on mobile are aimed at boosting Live’s visibility to everyday Facebook users, and they’re far from the only ones. On the web, a new, live map designates ongoing broadcasts around the world with clickable blue dots. Each has an “invite” button for inviting friends to watch along.

Changing how we view live broadcasts

In the coming weeks, the viewing and broadcasting experience will improve substantially. You’ll be able to limit your stream to specific Groups — think certain family members, friends, or users with a common interest — schedule future streams using Events, and tag your videos to help make them easier to find in in the new video tab.

A few other enhancements will bring Live to parity with the streaming competition. Much like Persicope, “Comment Replays” will show a chronological overlay of comments in archived videos. Like Periscope’s “hearts” feature, watchers will be able to infinitely “like” a stream or beam any of Facebook’s six Reaction emojis to the greater viewing audience. And like Snapchat, broadcasters will be able to switch between five color filters including sepia and black and white and doodle atop videos in real time.


Facebook’s betting on more than new features to attract eyeballs, though — it’s inked paid exclusivity agreements with a number of undisclosed studios and news outlets.

“We’re encouraging public figures and media companies to get in early and figure out what works,” Facebook’s Product Management Director for video Fidji Simo told TechCrunch. “We’re offering very early financial incentives to figure out the production up front and set up the studios.” For all video producers, it’s debuting both an API that’ll let them use high-end DSLRs and other equipment to broadcast to Live, and a new audience metrics tool that breaks out granular stats such as total unique viewers.

Why all the attention on live video? Monetization potential is a good guess. Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships Dan Rose told Variety that users watch live broadcasts three times longer than archived video, and that streams generate 10x more comments. That’s music to advertisers’ ears. Later this year, Faceook plans to enter revenue-sharing agreements with its paid Live partners.

In the interim, Facebook is angling to attract away a critical mass of broadcasters and viewers from the crowded field of heavyweight, established competitors like YouTube and Periscope. If Facebook manages to do so, it’ll be the network’s biggest content coup since it began hosting written content as a part of its Instant Articles program. If the success of that initiative is any indication, it may only be a matter of time.

Press Releases

NFL’s Marshawn Lynch joins Digital Trends Live to raise awareness for his nonprofit

PORTLAND, Oregon, December 10, 2018 -- NFL running back Marshawn Lynch is coming to Digital Trends Live for a special Thursday morning segment. Coming on the heels of Lynch’s 2018 Man of the Year Award nomination, the segment will center…

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.