Social media site Facebook is to abruptly modify its product development focus towards live streaming as government lockdowns due to coronavirus lead to a spike in demand.
The head of Facebook’s app, Fidji Simo, told Bloomberg that Facebook Live is currently experiencing a massive boom in usage. He explained that the company has had to adjust quickly and reshape its roadmap. The number of users watching live videos on the platform in the US alone has increased by 50% since the start of the year.
The main catalyst in this spike is no doubt the lockdowns governments are sanctioning on people all around the world in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, leaving millions of people stuck at home.
In a response to the increased usage to Facebook Live, the social site has accelerated the development of a number of features for the service. Firstly, it plans on making live streaming services accessible to more users as well as making the video streams more lucrative for broadcasters.
It is believed that new features to be introduced in the coming weeks include allowing those without a Facebook account to watch Live videos, hence making them available to a wider audience. It will also look at automatic closed captioning and rolling out a new dashboard for managing these live broadcasts.
Facebook has also introduced Live Producer, a tool that will let page managers take control of their live broadcasts. The tool has been designed to give page owners the ability to produce higher-end posts and integrate interactive features such as polls, as well as scheduling features and production software.
While it turns its attention to live streaming, Facebook is now halting its work on other projects, such as those that encourage face-to-face gatherings. As part of this, it has already started to show fewer reminders for upcoming events. Furthermore, it is considering Marketplace as a service of lesser importance at present, as it does not want to promote meeting up with people to exchange goods.
The employees assigned to work on projects such as this have now been reassigned to help smaller businesses during this time. It is believed to be developing new methods for these businesses to generate revenues through Facebook.
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