Facebook Live is good for a few things. Exploding watermelons, watching half-dressed Naval Academy freshman climb a lard-covered obelisk, and thrusting a Chewbacca-mask-wearing mom to viral fame from the parking lot of a Kohl’s, to name a few. Since it’s launch back in 2015, we’ve seen a pretty marked push from the company to get people to “go live” and stream videos via the platform. Today, Facebook adds a few new features that it hopes will do just that. Users will now be able to livestream simultaneously with another person in a dual broadcast, and coming later this year, everyone will be getting a private-chat feature built directly into Facebook Live.
If you’re a big Facebook Live user, the dual-broadcast feature might sound familiar. It rolled out to celebrities and public figures last year. Starting today, everybody on iOS will be able to use it. (Now, you and a friend in a different state can race to see whose watermelon explodes first.) “To invite a friend to join you in your Live video, simply select a guest from the Live Viewers section, or tap a comment from the viewer you want to invite,” Facebook explained in a release. “Your viewer can then choose whether or not to join your broadcast.” Two-person Live videos can be streamed either as a side-by-side video or as a picture-in-picture video.
According to Facebook, people comment over ten times more on Live broadcasts than they do on standard videos. The chat feature aims to get people engaging with the platform even more, but doing so only with the select people they actually want to see their commentary. (Read: Only your friends seeing you write “YAY HAMILTON!” during a broadcast from Broadway.) Which seems handy enough, I guess, as somebody who typically strays away from commenting during Live videos because of the wide audience.
Live Chat With Friends lets you invite friends to a private chat about a public Live broadcast. You can invite friends who are already watching or other friends who you think may want to tune in. You’re able to jump back into the public conversation at any time, and you can still continue chatting via Messenger after the broadcast ends.
The chat feature is currently being tested in several countries. Facebook says we can expect a wider rollout later this summer. In the meantime, you’ll have to stick to mocking Live videos in group chat in a separate window on your computer screen.