Facebook Launches Live Video Channel

Facebook is expanding its video capabilities and creating a new live video channel to help connect with users. Beginning today, the social media startup plans to use the Facebook Live channel to keep users informed about new product features and events, giving them a deeper look into the inner workings of the social network.

The Facebook Live channel kicks off today with a live event at 6:00 p.m. EDT/3:00 p.m. PDT featuring actress and filmmaker America Ferrera, whose most recent film, The Dry Land, was marketed entirely through social media, mostly through Facebook. Ferrera isn’t the only celebrity that Facebook users can expect to see; others might appear on the channel as they visit Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters, like when Kanye West showed up to the offices last week.

But for the most part, Facebook Live will be used to showcase Facebook products and how people are using those products, Facebook Marketing Manager Randi Zuckerberg said in a phone interview. In addition to product news, she said the channel would also allow users to interact with Facebook engineers and other employees to get a better sense of what’s happening within the company. According to Zuckerberg, the Facebook Live channel will probably have one or two chats a week at first, but it could adjust do more or less in the future, based on user feedback.

The Facebook Live app is embeddable and can be added as a tab to any Facebook page. It allows viewers to update their status, chat with each other or ask a question, which is then submitted to the moderator. Videos from past live events will also be archived, so users can refer back to them after they are over.

Facebook has used its social features to augment a number of live events in the past, including last year’s Presidential Inauguration and Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service. More recently, Facebook used live streaming, including its social chat and sharing capabilities during its F8 developers conference. Many of the features that were built out for F8, including support for chat in multiple languages, will be included in the Facebook Live app.

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