Guest live chat
The rollout, part of the company’s latest update, follows a limited test that Instagram started in August to smaller groups of users, as part of its bigger and gradual expansion of live video and messages — a feature that first launched a little under a year ago.
The feature works by letting people who are streaming a video to add anyone who is watching the video at that moment, by clicking on the “add” button in the corner of the screen.
And importantly for Facebook, you can also bring other friends into the live-stream - in the image you can also see that there's a green eye icon for the first two users listed, then the Messenger icon at the bottom right of the other avatars.
The green eye indicates that those users are already watching the stream, while the others are not - you can now start a chat with non-viewers that will directly connect them to the stream, generating more exposure for Live content and enabling users to interact in a more personally relevant, intimate way.
You also have the option to add guests in portrait mode (as shown in the video) or landscape, the latter giving the guest more screen space.
The ability to add in another user takes some of the pressure off when going live - as anyone who's ever done a solo live-stream before knows, creating entertaining content when it's just you staring into a camera is intimidating, and difficult.
By adding another perspective to the video, there's a whole different dynamic, which can lead to more entertaining streams and a better user experience.
As noted, Facebook does appear to be shifting focus in live, with an increased focus on new, exclusive TV-type programming, including the recent addition of Major League Baseball broadcasts.
The status icon for a live broadcast gets sent out to the friend networks of both the video host and guest, potentially creating a much larger pool of would-be watchers.
That emphasis makes sense - Facebook's faced a series of challenges with personal live-streams, including the broadcast of criminal content and self-harm, which is increasingly difficult to moderate or censor, given it's happening in real-time.
There's also long been questions about the quality of live-streams - while it's great to give everyone the capacity to broadcast themselves and their experiences in real-time, being able to create entertaining, quality content, consistently, is a skill within itself, and not everyone can do it.
It says that millions are using the features today, and as of September, video viewing was up 80 percent over the last year.
Facebook wants to be the home of live-streaming - though the emphasis on personal live-streaming may be losing some momentum, with Facebook more recently putting increased focus on broadcast-quality and professionally produced content over amateur posts.
This was the main appeal of Blab, which let you broadcast with up to four users at a time, and is no doubt a significant element in the rise of group live streaming app Houseparty.