Facebook announced today that it is rolling out several updates to its Facebook Live product. Over the “coming weeks,” you’ll be able to schedule your broadcasts and even have more collaborative livestreams, but only if you manage a verified Page. Additionally, support for Facebook Live will be included in the MSQRD app.
In March, Facebook acquired the company behind the face-swapping app MSQRD in what is believed to be a move to take on Snapchat. Perhaps realizing that just letting people broadcast normally isn’t good enough anymore, now Facebook will let you add some creativity to the mix. Over the coming weeks, the MSQRD update will enable you to apply masks and effects while broadcasting live, while also giving you control over your audience.
Facebook explained, “The MSQRD community is really creative, and we’re looking forward to seeing how people use this. As Candace Payne recently showed us, there’s a lot of fun to be had going live with your favorite mask.”
For those not on MSQRD, updates include the ability to be more collaborative with others. Currently you’re only able to stream from one device, but if you want to broaden the livestreaming experience — if you’re with a team in remote locations and are doing a video podcast or reporting the news, for example — it hasn’t been feasible. Rolling out today to verified Pages, however, administrators will be able to have viewers “drop in” on a live broadcast. Facebook plans on making this available more broadly in the future, but hasn’t provided a timeline.
This update also lets broadcasters schedule their live videos. Currently livestreams are spontaneous, but if some content creators and brands want a more formal structure, now they have it, with a “lobby” that viewers can virtually hang out in while they wait for the broadcast to start. With scheduling, Facebook said, broadcasters are able to embed a link to the live scheduled post, lobby, or broadcast to give advance notice to fans. This feature is also rolling out today, but only to verified Pages.
All of these updates were revealed at the VidCon conference, where Facebook director of product Fidji Simo spoke about what other capabilities were coming to livestreaming. As the social networking company vies for not only public attention, but for content creators, announcing updates at an event filled with video bloggers, creators, producers, and enthusiasts was likely intended to give it a boost against Twitter-owned Periscope, which recently had its day in the sun as Democrats used the app to broadcast their gun control sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.