In an attempt to take on Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook is starting to give all of its users the ability to broadcast live video to their friends and followers. This comes after the social network started to bring live streaming to select celebrities this summer.
On Thursday, Facebook turned on live video streaming for a small subset of its Us.S.-based users on iPhones, bringing a live video broadcast button to their status update form. Live video streams automatically appear in their friends’ Facebook news feeds, and broadcasts that have concluded are saved in the timeline like any other video.
Facebook announced the new feature with a blog post, including a description that sounded eerily familiar to anyone following the social live streaming boom of late: “During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, the names of friends who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments.”
Of course, that’s very similar to the features offered by both Meerkat and Periscope, and Facebook’s live video streaming is an obvious attempt to keep users interested in live streaming on its own platform. But it’s also just one more step towards turning Facebook into a more video-centric platform and cashing in on video advertising. Already, Facebook is seeing more than eight billion video views every single day.