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Mark Zuckerberg Is 'Obsessed' With Livestreaming, Making Live a Top Priority at Facebook

Facebook is focusing heavily on livestreaming.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken a heightened interest in livestreaming over the past few months, redirecting internal resources to help build out the company’s Live product that lets people broadcast video to friends on the service, according to sources.

The engineering and product teams that work on video at Facebook have made Live their top priority, for example. According to one source, Zuckerberg is “obsessed” with getting Live to work.


These internal efforts have not been broadcasted publicly, but the results have. During a town hall style Q&A Friday in Berlin, Zuckerberg described live video as “one of the things I’m most excited about,” and announced that Facebook is rolling out Live to Android users. He added that people in more than 30 countries now have the feature (it was previously limited to U.S. iPhone users).

“As Mark said this morning during his Town Hall Q&A in Berlin, we’ve seen that people really enjoy sharing and interacting with live video on Facebook,” a company spokesperson told Re/code when we reached out about the internal changes. “We’re excited that people are embracing this new format, and we’re working to make it available to more people around the world.”

This effort makes sense. Facebook has spent a lot of time and energy working to become a digital water cooler, the place online where people go to talk about what’s happening right now. It’s also pushing aggressively into video and has been for well over a year. Livestreaming touches on both of those objectives.

All of this should resonate loudly about 30 miles up the road where Twitter and Periscope are building their own livestreaming service. Livestreaming is also a top priority at Twitter; the company recently added Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour to its executive team.

The key difference in strategy so far is that Facebook built Live inside its main app and doesn’t have plans to build a standalone product, according to a source. The idea is to help broadcasters leverage their existing Facebook audience inside News Feed. Facebook believes it can get more reach that way than by building a standalone product.

Periscope is a standalone app, but has recently started to integrate more closely with Twitter and its feed.

With its video teams focused on Live, it’s safe to assume Facebook has more features on the way. The key appears to be reach. Whichever company can ensure the most eyeballs will likely draw power users like celebrities, brands and content creators. Expect both Facebook and Twitter will work to do just that.

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