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What happened on Facebook Live this week? Artificially intelligent Super Mario and surprise piercings.

A roundup of what publishers did with media's shiniest new toy.

A Facebook Live broadcast from Kotaku
A Facebook Live broadcast from Kotaku
Kotaku / Facebook

Facebook has significant power and influence over how digital media operates, as it is responsible for so much of a publication's audience.

And because Facebook is aggressively pushing its Facebook Live video streaming service — to the point that it's paying celebrities and media companies, including Recode proprietor Vox Media, to use it — virtually every digital publisher is experimenting with the feature.

So far, publishers have tried a lot of different stuff on Facebook Live. BuzzFeed blew up a watermelon using rubber bands, and a Washington Post columnist literally ate one of his columns in a nine-course meal. Gawker talked with kids about the 2016 election, and Recode has broadcasted from inside our podcast recording rooms.

In short, Facebook Live matters because Facebook really wants it to matter, and digital media is highly responsive to what Facebook wants.

We'll be keeping tabs on the different things digital publishers (including Vox Media properties) do on Facebook Live. See a stream that you think we should highlight? Shoot me an email at, or tweet it at @nkulw.

The New York Post

On Monday, New York's tabloid of record sent one of its reporters to get a piercing, in appreciation of National Piercing Day. The catch? He didn't know what he was getting pierced (it was his nipple).

The New York Times

A newspaper in Manhattan broadcasted a pitch meeting with some of its political reporters and Washington editor Carolyn Ryan, "a behind-the-scenes look" at how political media sausage gets made. Worth noting: The stories "pitched" during this Live session were already on the editing desk.


Gawker Media sports vertical Deadspin has been running different simulations of current sports series on old video games. Last week it was the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Los Angeles Dodgers on RBI Baseball, and earlier today it was the Golden State Warriors against the Oklahoma City Thunder on NBA Live '95.

NPR Music

Explosions in the Sky, a post-rock band from Texas whose music you have almost certainly heard in various TV shows and movies even if you don't recognize the name, had its Washington, D.C. show from last night live-streamed by NPR.


Video game site Kotaku, which is also owned by Gawker Media, taught an artificially intelligent bot how to play Super Mario World. The conceit was that A.I. Mario got better and better the longer the broadcast went on.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

Last Saturday, WWE broadcasted the wild end to a wrestling match in Portland, Oregon, involving Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. I do not know who they are, either. However this video got more eyeballs (according to Facebook) than every other Facebook Live stream on this list.

This article originally appeared on

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