Facebook fights Periscope by showing Live videos higher than saved streams

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It doesn’t matter if it was Live if you missed it. And Facebook knows that people watch actually Live streams 3X longer than saved ones. So it’s changing the News Feed to prefer on-going broadcasts.

Twitter’s big advantage with Periscope is that they’re both inherently real-time platforms. Periscopes generate notifications for all your followers there, and show up instantly at the top of the Twitter timeline.

Facebook’s News Feed wasn’t built for real-time content. It’s designed to show you what’s best, even if that’s a few hours old. But that doesn’t work with Live video. Facebook Live lets you permanently save and show off your streams rather than deleting them after 24 hours like Periscope. But it’s the urgency, interaction, and raw unpredictability that make Live videos fun to watch.

So today, Facebook made the so-sensible-it-should-have-always-been-like-this decision to change its News Feed ranking algorithm to rank videos that are currently streaming Live higher in the feed than old saved streams.

Facebook Live Rollout

Facebook launched Live for celebrities in August before slowly rolling it out to people with Verified Profiles and Pages and eventually all iOS users in January. Then it gave Android users the option to broadcast last week. Rather than notify all your friends or fans when you broadcast, Facebook cut spam by only sending you a push if the stream comes from a close friend, Page you recently interacted with, or you purposefully subscribed to their Live videos.

The change should make it more likely that you’ll catch Facebook Live streams while they’re still in-progress. This way you can leave comments that the broadcaster will see.

We’re finally seeing the ways that Facebook Live and Periscope differentiate, considering the streaming and live viewing experiences are nearly identical. Twitter will rely on notifications and you seeing the initial tweet or retweets of Periscopes. It’s more about getting people in during the first few seconds.

Meanwhile Facebook will hope to use the massive attention its News Feed receives to surface the best on-going streams where you’re already looking. It can use signals such as Likes and comments to just surface the best streams so you don’t end up getting notified about or shown some boring lunch monologue.