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(Pocket-lint) - Facebook last year launched a Live feature, called Live, that lets you broadcast in real time, and now it's majorly updating that same feature to make it more like rival apps Periscope and Snapchat.

Periscope is owned by Twitter and essentially lets you broadcast as well as interact with broadcasters in real-time via comments and emoji-style hearts. Snapchat on the other hand started out as a photo- and video-sharing app that you could use to send in-the-moment snaps to friends. These snaps self-destruct after 10 or so seconds. The app has change a lot in recent years, however, with one example being its Story feature.

Story lets you string together your snaps to - as you might've guessed - create a "story" of your day, which you can then broadcast to friends and followers. Similar to snaps, stories disappear after a set amount of time (thus maintaining the app's whole ephemeral vibe)). Snapchat is also unique in that it lets you doodle on snaps and apply filters and lenses. Well Facebook's Live now offers something similar to Snapchat.

Not only can now you doodle and apply filters on your Facebook broadcasts but you can interact with your friend's broadcasts using Facebook reactions, which are a new set of smileys the social network recently launched for posts. With these new capabilities, which we detail in full below, Facebook has taken the best bits from its competition and included them in Live to make the feature more robust and engaging.

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Facebook Live: How does it work?

Here's how to start and use Live:

  1. Open the Facebook app on iPhone
  2. To start a Live, tap on Update Status
  3. Select the Live icon (figure surrounded by radio waves)
  4. Write a quick description
  5. Choose the audience that you want to share with before going live
  6. Tap the Go Live button

For more information about how to use Facebook Live, check out Pocket-lint's step-by-step guide:

Facebook Live: How do Periscope and Snapchat work?

Rather than going into more detail Periscope and Snapchat so you can see how they compare Facebook Live, allow us to direct your attention toward these helpful pieces that explain everything you need to know about both:

Facebook Live: What's new with Live?

Groups and Events

Facebook is introducing the ability to go live in Facebook Groups (you can broadcast to people in the Facebook Group) and Facebook Events (you can go live to those who’ve RSVP-ed). You can also use Events to schedule Q&A sessions.

Live Reactions

Facebook said Live Reactions makes it "easy for your viewers to express their feelings in real time during a live broadcast."

Live Reactions uses the same reactions that Facebook launched for posts in the News Feed. So, you can select Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry, and then you can see those reactions animate on top of the broadcast. Live Reactions appear and disappear in real time, and when your friend reacts to your video or to a video you are both watching, you will see their profile pic and a starburst before their reaction appears.

This feature really reminds of us Periscope, as that broadcasting app lets you double tap your phone screen in order to send love/hearts (a heart will appear next to your avatar) to a broadcaster in real-time.

Replay Comments

Similar to Periscope, Facebook Live lets you engage with broadcasters using real-time comments. Facebook said it noticed people comment 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. Now it wants people watching the broadcast after the fact to still feel as though they're watching in the moment, so it'll begin replaying comments as they happened during the broadcast for people watching later.

Periscope as of April 2016 doesn't replay comments.

Live Filters and Doodles

Facebook Live is going after Snapchat with Live Filters and doodles. The company said it wants to give broadcasters more creative ways to personalise their live broadcasts, so it's initially rolling out a set of five Live Filters as well as the ability to draw or doodle on videos while live. Snapchat also lets you take a photo or a video, then add a caption or doodle or lens graphic over top, and send it to a friend.

Live Destination and Live Map

Facebook is launching a dedicated tab on Facebook’s mobile app that you can visit to discover live videos from across the world. You can search live and non-live videos, and choose to go live yourself from there. Just tap on the new video icon in the app to navigate to this new tab. To go along with this, Facebook is releasing a Facebook Live Map on desktop. With it, you get a visual of what's happening in more than 60 countries.

Periscope similarly lets you explore broadcasts from across the world.

Facebook Live: Anything else you need to know?

Facebook is also adding the option to send an invitation to a friend to watch with right from live videos. Simply tap on the invite icon, then select the friend you want to invite, and they will receive a push notification with your invitation.

Check out Facebook's blog post for more details about these new Live tools.

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 6 April 2016.