Facebook is extending the option for all Pages and normal accounts to add a guest to their Facebook Live streams after opening up the feature to people with verified profiles last year. For now, guests can only be added if both the broadcaster and guest are using Facebook’s iOS app to stream themselves.
If a broadcast is airing horizontally, the video will split-screen the broadcaster’s and guest’s streams side by side. If it’s airing vertically, the guest’s stream will appear as a thumbnail overlay like in a FaceTime chat.
For marketers, the extension of the Live With feature means a brand can add a spokesperson to the stream or pick out a member of the audience to chime in on the broadcast. That’s already possible by using Facebook’s Live API, but not all brands staff the tech talent and production crews or want to pay for the software to support more TV-style programming. Using Live With, more Pages can approximate that level of production through an iPhone.
Facebook is also starting to let viewers of a Live stream create private chat rooms with friends to talk about the broadcast without their comments making it into the main public feed. For now, the feature — called Live Chat With Friends — is still in testing mode, but Facebook plans to make it officially available sometime this summer. While the feature may siphon conversations away from the public comment feed, it could also make people more likely to share the stream with their friends because they can discuss it on their own.