Facebook has rolled out two new features for Facebook Live that will further improve user experience for the social network's live streaming platform.
Facebook announced the two new features for Facebook Live through a Facebook Newsroom post, where it stated that Facebook Live videos receive 10 times more comments compared to regular videos uploaded on the social network.
Live Chat With Friends Feature
Reading through the comments of a Facebook Live video is part of its appeal, but sometimes users only want to interact with their friends during a live broadcast of an event. To meet this need, Facebook is rolling out the Live Chat With Friends feature.
Through this new feature, users will be able to invite their friends to a private chat without leaving a Facebook Live broadcast. Users can invite friends who are already watching the video or friends who may be interested in tuning in.
The feature, which is being tested in several countries and expected to be released widely in the summer, will still allow users to jump back into the public comments section of a Facebook Live video at any time. Users may also continue their private chats with their friends through Messenger after the Facebook Live broadcast ends.
Live With Feature
Last year, Facebook started testing a feature that allows public figures to broadcast on Facebook Live with a guest. The social network is now rolling out the feature for the Profiles and Pages sections of the iOS version of the app as Live With, which will allow users to invite their friends as a guest into their Facebook Live broadcasts.
To invite a guest, users can simply select one of the viewers in their Facebook Live stream. Invited users, if they choose to accept the invitation, will then show up in the video. If the Facebook Live video is in landscape mode, the streamer and the guest will appear side by side in a split-screen, and if the video is in portrait mode, the guest will appear with a picture-in-picture interface.
Users on the Android version of the app could be invited to broadcasts as a guests but are currently not allowed to invite guests during their own Facebook Live streams. The feature will arrive for Android over the coming months. Desktop users, meanwhile, will not be able to enjoy Live With, as the feature is specifically created for mobile devices.
Facebook Live Controversy
The new features come as Facebook continues to grapple with the controversial videos that are being broadcast through Facebook Live.
Last month, reports surfaced that Chicago police are searching for the people behind an incident of rape that was broadcast on Facebook Live on March 19. About 40 people watched the stream, but none of them called 911 to report the sexual assault. The victim was a minor, and as many as six young men participated in the crime.
A couple of weeks after, a murder in Cleveland was streamed through Facebook Live, showing 37-year-old Steve Stephens approaching 74-year-old Robert Goodwin Sr. and then killing him. After the incident, Facebook admitted that it needed to do better at preventing such videos from propagating through the social network but disputed allegations that it took too long to respond.