To request to join a live video a viewer can tap a request button in the comments section. Hosts see the request pop up in real time and can accept or deny, and also have access to a list of pending requests in case a bunch of different people are trying to join in.
Instagram had already let anyone streaming live invite a friend to join them, but by adding a request feature the possibilities for collaboration are greatly expanded.
Imagine a celebrity “taking calls” from fans. With the ability to see all pending requests, a host could pick a fan to join them live at random, or even selectively pick someone who just made an insightful comment in the chat.
Of course, there’s the worry that someone says something inappropriate when they join, but that’s not necessarily any riskier than allowing random people to comment on your posts. In an ideal world, Instagram would build in a feature like a 2- or 3-second delay that would let the host boot the guest if they said anything inappropriate, but for now it seems like hosts will just have to selectively screen their guests.
The feature also should be helpful among friends. It shifts the burden for collaboration from host to guest, meaning a lot more people should try to participate, which results in a happier host and better overall content.