Before Periscope and Meerkat jumpstarted the mobile live-streaming craze, Facebook was already quietly working on its own way to let public figures broadcast live videos to their fans. Today, Facebook is launching “Live” as a feature in its Mentions app that’s only available to celebrities with a verified Page.
VIPs can start a Live broadcast that’s posted to the News Feed, watch comments overlaid in real-time on their stream, and then make the recording permanently available for viewing. Stars like The Rock and Serena Williams will stream today. As for when the average user might get broadcast abilities, Live product manager Vadim Lavrusik wouldn’t say, but told me “We think this will be an awesome experience for both public figures and also users. We want to get feedback from both public figures and viewers as we evolve the product.
Why should celebrities use Facebook Live instead of Periscope or Meerkat? Lavrusik tells me “Public figures already have fans on Facebook that they share to every single day.” Essentially, reach. With huge fan counts on Facebook, celebrities could see a wider audience there than on other networks.