Facebook is rolling out a series of updates to its Live video service aimed at general users.
Chief among the expansions is the option to broadcast for even longer. Facebook has extended the time length of live-streams for all users to four hours, that’s double the original duration. The update still doesn’t match the 24-hour streams available to Facebook’s media partners, but it should satisfy users wishing to create epic videos.
Additionally, streamers can now broadcast in full-screen, in both portrait and landscape mode on iOS. Android, on the other hand, is restricted to the former for now, although Facebook promises landscape mode is coming “later this summer.”
There are also new modifications aimed at streamlining the viewing experience. A new “video-only” option hides comments and reactions — which tend to flood clips from popular pages — allowing for a more immersive experience. Both broadcasters and viewers can activate or deactivate the mode (by swiping left or right) during a stream — this essentially allows streamers to block out any distractions if they wish to focus purely on the video instead of interactions.
The latest slate of features follows last month’s updates, announced at VidCon, which included the ability to broadcast with another person situated in a different location. Additionally, Facebook added MSQRD integration to its live-streaming tool, allowing users to overlay their videos with the app’s zany, Snapchat-style, filters. Streamers were also given the option to schedule broadcasts, and create a virtual lobby for viewers.
The new updates reveal that Facebook hasn’t given up on its general users. Lately, the social network has ramped up its efforts to attract media publishers, celebs, and internet stars to its live-streaming network with multi-million dollar video publishing deals.
However, a number of recent events — including a protest by Democrats in Congress, an attempted coup in Turkey, and the harrowing death of Philando Castlie — saw Facebook Live utilized by a wide spectrum of users, from politicians to everyday people faced with a crisis. The social network would be wise not to forego its general user base, who have the power to broadcast on-the-ground realities, which wield a bigger impact than any amount of exploding watermelons, and silly pranks.
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