Facebook has released a slew of updates to its Live Video feature, including live streams within events and groups, real-time reactions, invitations for friends to watch a live video and the Facebook Live Map that collates all live videos being shown in the countries where the feature is supported.
The features will launch on April 6, Facebook said, and will make the battle for advertising dollars with Alphabet's YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms even more intense.
The Live Video feature of Facebook started out as exclusively for celebrities to stream videos of themselves, but it has since been rolled out to all users in the United States. The company has also recently tweaked its News Feed algorithm so that ongoing Live Video streams will be ranked higher, a change which revealed that Facebook is treating live videos as a new type of content apart from the traditional videos hosted on the social network.
In addition, Facebook Product Management Director for video Fidji Simo said that a small group of news outlets will be directly paid by the company to cover the costs of broadcasting reports through Live Video, instead of through their own websites where the news outlets can receive advertising revenue.
The goal of all these changes, including the most recent updates to Live Video, is to foster engagement with users, which would lead to advertising revenue. There are currently no advertisements yet on Live Video, but a spokesperson for Facebook revealed that while the company is focused on improving the user experience, it would help its partners to make money out of the feature as soon as possible.
The combination of the changes and the partners that Facebook is drawing in for Live Video is expected to create high-quality content for the feature, which would attract more users to access it. It would seem that Live Video will expand Facebook's share of advertising revenue, with brands spending even more on social media as advertising channels more than ever.