By Evan DeSimone
Facebook’s push toward mobile live streaming is taking a big step forward today with the roll out of Facebook Live to all verified pages.
The social networking giant has taken a gradual approach with its live streaming product. In August, it allowed a select group of VIP users, composed mostly of celebrities and other notables, to sample the product and connect directly with their Facebook followers, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that it let a small group of ordinary humans sample the product in the U.S. Now. Facebook Live will be available to anyone who operates a verified Facebook page meaning even more celebs will have access to the tool along with companies, public figures and media outlets.
It’s been a big year for live streaming as the technology came to mobile in a big way. Live broadcasting start-up YouNow made waves with its partner program, which allows influencers to monetize their audiences through live-streamed appearances and performances, backed by $15 million in new funding. However, the entities most likely to feel the burn as Facebook heats up Live are Meerkat and Twitter-owned Periscope. Both apps made a splash this year, popularizing mobile live streaming in the process, but Facebook Live’s direct connect to Facebook’s massive and highly-engaged user base will give competitors a cause for concern.
Facebook Live is one of several video-focused offerings from the social network that has gained traction this year. The largest of these was Facebook video, which now racks up a reported 8 billion views per day, enough to put even YouTube on its toes. However, they can’t all be winners. Facebook recently axed several struggling apps, including Snapchat competitor Slingshot and video sharing app Riff, before closing the doors on its experimental division, Facebook Creative Labs.