Facebook Messenger can now stream live video

SAN FRANCISCO • Facebook Messenger has added the ability to stream live video, a feature that fans of rival application Snapchat enjoy.

Instant Video lets people broadcast real-time video in Messenger text exchanges, according to a Facebook blog post. "It's perfect for sharing quick moments with friends who aren't right by your side, or making your conversations richer by seeing each other face-to-face when you are messaging," Facebook said of the feature.

Instant Video is available in the latest version of the Messenger app on mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software. People using Messenger can tap on a video icon to begin sharing real-time video, with the sound turned off by default but easily turned on.

"Instant Video is a reflection of the ubiquity of video - we simply expect to have that ability in real time, all the time," Facebook said.

The feature also matches one offered in rival Snapchat, the vanishing message service that became a hit with teenagers and lets members share pictures and video clips.

In July, Facebook said the number of users of its Messenger app had topped one billion.

Facebook itself has more than 1.6 billion users, and WhatsApp, another messaging app acquired by Facebook for about US$20 billion (S$27 billion) in 2014, counts over a billion users. Other services in the Facebook "family" include Instagram, which is used by more than 500 million people to share images.

Facebook recently targeted video-loving adolescents and Snapchat directly, with the release of a new iPhone app that allows teens to watch clips about the lives of their classmates.

The app, called Lifestage, is available for anyone to download on iPhone, although seeing profiles of other users is reserved for those aged 21 or younger.

Last month, Instagram put its own spin on a key Snapchat feature by letting users post "Stories" that eventually vanish from the photo- and video-sharing app.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2016, with the headline 'Facebook Messenger can now stream live video'. Print Edition | Subscribe