Facebook's algorithms will soon downgrade live videos that are anything but

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Facebook’s live videos tend to draw more interaction with the unedited content and notifications to followers — and the social media platform is working to keep it that way. Facebook recently added restrictions to their Live API policy that prohibits pushing a static image as a live video, including looping animations and live polls.

The changes are to the Live API Facebook Platform Policy, which spells out how third-party developers can use the platform’s streaming capability within their own apps. The policy now prohibits using the system to post photos, whether single, looping, or animated, as well as using the live platform to poll users, using the viewer’s emoji interactions to tally up votes.

Users that violate the new terms are risking lower visibility, and Facebook says that users who repeatedly violate those terms could have restricted access to the live streaming feature. An exception, for now, is countdowns to real events, Facebook told TechCrunch.

The policy changes come after Facebook announced late last year that poll type live videos would be seeing reduced visibility in the news feed after users said they didn’t find the live polls very interesting. Facebook began ranking live videos differently in the news feed over prerecorded videos in March 2016, prioritizing live videos over videos that were live but are no longer streaming. At the time, data suggested that users were three times more likely to view live videos than previous streams that have ended.

Facebook has been concentrating efforts on refining live streaming, expanding from pages only to personal profiles and the ability to broadcast from a computer and not just a mobile device. Out of the professional pages using Live, media companies, on average, share 18 times more live videos than other types of pages.

The Live API policy also says developers can’t design apps that will allow users to stream to Facebook while also streaming to another platform, and that any prerecorded content must be designated as such.