Next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook News Feed, you might see a live video hosted by your favourite celebrity.
That’s because the social network just launched a new streaming feature for the VIP users who have access to Mentions, the Facebook app that caters to public figures.
The product, called “Live,” makes it incredibly easy for celebrities to shoot interactive video that will appear on the News Feeds of anyone who follows their Page. People who recently interacted with a celebrity’s Facebook Page will get a push notification alerting them when a new broadcast starts.
Of course, Live sounds almost exactly like other streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope (which Twitter bought earlier this year). The biggest difference is that these videos stream only on Facebook and only celebrities can make them.
At launch, Facebook recruited public figures like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Serena Williams, Luke Bryan, Ricardo Kakà, Ashley Tisdale, Lester Holt, Martha Stewart, and Michael Bublé.
When asked about the clear competition with Meerkat and Perisope, a Facebook spokesperson said that it’s something that public figures have asked for.
“Our goal with Live is to make it easy for them to share authentic moments and original, unique content with their fans on Facebook in real-time,” Facebook says. “We also know that people like to watch videos from their favourite public figures, so we think this update benefits the Facebook ecosystem overall.”
Ben Rubin, CEO of Meerkat, highlighted for Business Insider via email that his app still has unique features, like “Cameo,” which lets viewers commandeer the video stream, and an open API that lets users embed the streaming experience anywhere.
“After we validated the space earlier this year, new entrants further accelerate the live streaming medium through shared learnings,” he says. “So we are excited about that.”
For Facebook, this move comes not long after it introduced remotely-accessible Place Tips, to let users check out live, curated content from events like Lollapalooza. With this additional live feature, Facebook is expanding the ways it makes its content time sensitive. Instead of just browsing Facebook when they’re bored, users have more incentive to check their feeds at certain specific times.
Also, Live aligns with Facebook’s recent video push. With new ad formats and revenue sharing tests, Facebook is challenging YouTube to become the central hub for consumers to watch online video (and to reap the lucrative advertising dollars that come with it).
Facebook says users currently view more than 4 billion videos every day.
Business Insider also reached out to Periscope and will update if we hear back.