After months of sitting on the sidelines while Meerkat and Periscope dominate the livestreaming space, Facebook is rolling out its own offering… well, sort of. It’s launching Facebook Live, a service that lets “public figures” (that is, celebrities with verified public pages) stream real-time video of their adventures through Facebook Mentions. You can comment on and share these feeds if you’re a mere commoner, but you can’t record them yourself. Some of the first broadcasts will come from the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Michael Bublé and Serena Williams, if you’re wondering about the intended users.
The move is a bit odd when the very allure of competing services is that anyone can set up and share a stream for any purpose — T-Mobile CEO John Legere, for example, has used Periscope for everything from documenting runs in Central Park through to earnings calls. However, it makes sense in light of Facebook’s big push toward covering events as they happen. The social network isn’t so much interested in creating the go-to livestreaming service as it is keeping you on Facebook for as long as possible. Its ultimate goal is to prevent you from drifting over to Twitter when there’s a big premiere or Q&A session, and Live’s celebrity focus may be more than enough to make that happen.