News: Move seen as challenge to social media rivals and pay TV industry.
Facebook is taking on Twitter in the live streaming space with Live Video.
The social media giant is testing a new tool in the United States that will allow individual users to share video live to their Facebook profile.
The video technology is built into Facebook’s existing interface; users tap on the Update Status button and then select the new Live Video icon. They can share a description and choose the intended audience.
Those sharing videos will be able to see the number of live viewers, friends that are tuning in and a real-time stream of comments.
Public figures have been able to share video directly to followers since August.
The Twitter live-streaming app, Periscope was launched on the Google Play store for Android owners in May and has been available on iOS since March.
Paolo Pescatore, Director at CCS Insight, says that it is not just Periscope that Facebook is taking on.
"It could potentially give not just Periscope but premium content owners and pay TV providers a real headache," he said. "Especially if users are streaming content from a live event which is being broadcast live to paying subscribers.
"But it could represent a great opportunity for Facebook to work more closely with the media industry. Broadcasters, networks et al are still struggling to understand what people are watching, their interests and more importantly who they are."
Pescatore also said: "Overall, this latest move builds upon the fast growing popularity for apps like Periscope.
"It is somewhat surprising that [Facebook] didn’t make this move sooner. The next step could well be broadcasting live events in partnership with content partners.
"Video is proving to be a battle ground for all Web providers. And Facebook has some significant steps within a short period of time. Others such as Google with YouTube need to watch out."
Facebook also announced a new collages feature, which groups together photos and videos into a scrolling collage.