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Facebook’s live-streaming video tool comes to the masses

By Marcia Gagliardi

Originally released six months ago for celebrities, journalists and other public figures, Facebook has just extended its new live-streaming video tool to the rest of us (well, those of us in the U.S. with an iPhone, for now); rollout to the rest of the world, and Android, is coming soon.

Like Periscope or Meerkat, you can record live and in the moment, and people can join your broadcast and leave comments as you’re filming. Your video will be posted to your timeline where people can view it and engage with it like any other Facebook post, but if you decide you don’t want everyone to see your double chin, you can remove your clip, poof!

So, how does it work? Go into the “update status” window in the Facebook app on your iPhone, and you’ll notice on the far right a small icon, which handily has a banner pointing it out (“New! Record and share live video”). You’ll type in a description of what you’re about to broadcast (“Take a look at my fabulous hotel room in New York!”), decide the audience to share it with, take a breath and click “Go Live.”

You can turn the camera on yourself (just tap the arrows in the top right for selfie/FaceTime mode) if you’d like to say hi and introduce what you’re up to, just make sure you don’t have any food in your beard. You can then change the camera mode to film what’s happening around you (screwing up your omelet à la Julia Child). 

People who join the broadcast will be notified how many people are watching, and can leave comments or ask questions. Viewers can also subscribe to your broadcasts so they don’t miss one in the future (they’ll get a notification that you’re about to film live).

It’s sure to be a hit at concerts (Bruuuuuuuuce!) and other performances, and is a fun way to share a live look at the snowstorm out your window, or your little five-year-old blowing out her birthday candles. Because it’s live, there’s a different feeling of immediacy and authenticity in the broadcast. It’s also a powerful way to capture a live news event that’s happening around you, but Mashable warns a strong network connection is important (connect to Wi-Fi if possible). Try it out—and don’t forget to smile at the camera.

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