The popular Periscope and Meerkat owned by Twitter offered the service of live streaming via mobile phones, to a select group of celebrities and high-profile users for several months.
Facebook’s live video feature will be available only to a small percentage of people in the US and will be limited to iPhones. Over time, the company plans to bring it to all users. Facebook said: “Live lets you show the people you care about what you’re seeing in real time – whether visiting a new place, cooking your favourite recipe or just want to share some thoughts.”
The stream will display the number of live viewers, the names of friends who are watching and real-time comments and will be saved to users’ timelines until they choose to delete them.
Facebook has a vast audience to promote services to so there is nothing stopping it from becoming a significant player in video streaming.
Privacy advocates have raised concerns about such services, but Mr Maude believes that Facebook will be keen to avoid any controversy. The privacy concerns and restrictions on how the content can be shared will be adequately addressed. It won’t be automatically broadcast to everyone.
Last year, Amazon paid $1bn for live streaming game site Twitch.