It looks like Facebook won’t be buying Meerkat after all.
The company has launched Facebook Live, a live-streaming feature reminiscent of Meerkat and Periscope.
Currently, the feature is available only to VIPs, which Facebook describes as “athletes, musicians, politicians and other influencers.” In other words, anybody with a verified account.
Touted as a new way for these “public figures” to connect with their fans, it is now available through the Facebook Mentions app. In a press release, the company mentions that Live’s celebrity guinea pigs include Dwayne “Stop Calling Me ‘The Rock'” Johnson, Serena Williams, Martha Stewart, and Michael Bublé (presumably so your mom will have somebody to tune in for).
The screencap looks pretty much the same as Periscope’s live chat and viewer count.
Celebrity endorsements are a sure-fire, if cheap, way to quickly drive up viewership and, naturally, ad dollars. Facebook has been rapidly pursuing more video consumption, even if it’s not always particularly honest.
Indeed, as their view counts have exploded, content owners have been vocal about persistent piracy and reposting.
So, if you follow them, you can now look forward to Michael Bublé or Triple H in your Facebook timeline.
Just like Periscope, you’ll get a notification when they’re live. Unlike Meerkat, it archives video. Like both, you can watch endless hours of people staring into their phones with double-chins.