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April 6, 2016, 10:23 a.m.
LINK: newsroom.fb.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   April 6, 2016

“Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything,” Emily Bell declared in a lecture at the University of Cambridge a few weeks ago. She was talking about giant platforms and in large part about Facebook, which has rolled out (and continues to roll out) features that have news organizations scrambling to take advantage. First, it was Instant Articles — available soon to everyone on April 12. Now, it’s Facebook Live.

On Wednesday — in advance of its F8 developer conference next week — Facebook announced a whole host of new features around Live, including the ability to invite friends to a live broadcast, options for viewers to add live reactions and filters to videos, functionality for group broadcasting, and a dedicated hub in the Facebook mobile app for all live videos. On desktop, users will start to be able to view a world map of where all these broadcasts are happening. (I’ve been reporting out a separate story on how news organizations have been experimenting with Facebook Live, and the organizations I spoke to highlighted early challenges with the tool that these features are addressing directly.) The features will roll out to both Android and iOS in the next few weeks. Earlier this month, it already announced live videos were being prioritized in users’ News Feeds.

facebook-live-press-screenshot-from-FBFacebook is paying some publishers to use its Live feature, Recode reported on Wednesday, though judging by how much users have been bombarded of late with “XYZ is now Live!” notifications, many publishers don’t really need that incentive.

“We’re working with a few partners, and in some of the cases that includes a financial incentive,” Facebook Live product director Fidji Simo told Kurt Wagner. According to Recode’s sources, Facebook is paying The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and The Huffington Post (“We think, but haven’t confirmed, that Vox Media — the company that owns this website — is getting paid, too,” Wagner wrote.)

“There was this a-ha moment for everyone,” Simo told BuzzFeed’s Mat Honan, in (yet another) story on the imperative development of Facebook’s live broadcasting tool. “Zuck was like, ‘Wait, if this thing is really taking off, why don’t we focus a lot more resources on it?'” The emphasis on Live is no revelation: In months previous, Zuckerberg has been reported as “obsessed” with getting live video working, and that it’s one the things he’s “most excited about.”

Take a look at some of the screenshots samples Facebook released on its blog with news about these new features, and you’ll see in place of the Messenger tab (between the friend requests and notifications tabs) a video play button.

When Honan asked Zuckerberg the now age-old question of whether Facebook’s low-risk, simple-to-use tools might discourage some from investing in expensive traditional TV broadcasting, Zuckerberg told him: “I think you would just do both. The point isn’t that you have to make a choice, it’s that we’re giving people new tools.”

Spoken like a true a distribution platform.

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