Facebook has announced it will circumvent its News Feed limitations by launching Facebook Live with a new algorithm to prioritise live videos. With Google’s YouTube and Twitter’s Periscope having offered live streaming videos for some time now, Facebook plan to capitalise on their higher media traffic by allowing verified Pages and public figures to stream live broadcasts
The Rise of Live
Since Twitter launched Periscope in January last year, 100 million live broadcasts have been created. Last month saw Periscope made compatible with Twitter and so live feeds can now be accessed and referenced directly via Tweets.
Having first rolled out Facebook Live to US users on iOS in December 2015, Facebook has realised the potential of live streaming for raising traffic to its website and keeping users engaged for longer.
“People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.”
The algorithm problem
Twitter’s services are able to prioritise timely and popular content, whilst Facebook’s News Feed algorithm works through content gathering popularity over time (in the form of Reactions, Comments, Shares, etc.). Whilst this gives a good impression of popular material as time passes by, it is not suitable for live streams which, by necessity, require immediate awareness.
Separate ranking system
In the short-term, Facebook has said it will address this algorithm issue by falsely-ranking Facebook Live videos higher on users’ news feeds. This will ensure live streams are seen by a higher number of viewers, whilst no doubt encouraging users to associate Facebook with live streaming services over Google and Twitter alternatives.
Users will be able to share live video streams by clicking the “What’s On Your Mind” button, and even suggest an appropriate audience, speeding up the process of reaching larger audiences.
Evolving through feedback
Ultimately, Facebook plans to continue with their mantra of enabling users to decide for themselves what is and isn’t popular on their feed. Facebook have indicated they will consider user preferences and feedback in their development of a fairer, long-term algorithm for handling Facebook Live on the traditional News Feed.