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How to Use Facebook Live Video: Broadcast Live From Your Phone



With competitors breathing down their necks, Facebook has started letting users broadcast live video straight to their Facebook feeds from iPhone or Android devices. Here’s how to use the new Facebook Live Video.

While live streaming video has been a regular feature of the Internet for the past several years, it’s only recently that live video has become accessible to the average user. Apps like Periscope (acquired by Twitter before it released) have made sharing live video with other people easier than ever, thanks almost entirely to its integration with Twitter.

One of the major issues with the adoption of live streaming video up to this point has been sharing that broadcast with your audience. Whether that audience is thousands of Twitter followers or blog readers, or just a couple of friends and family, the best scenarios involved embedding 3rd party services into your blog or website. Periscope works by integrating your Twitter followers into the app, so you can start broadcasting video, and your followers can watch.

What is Facebook Live Video?

Live Video is exactly what it sounds like. In addition to recording video and uploading it to share on Facebook, the social networking giant is now letting its users broadcast video, as it happens and uncensored, straight to the site.

Facebook’s Live Video functionality was likely developed both in response to threats such as Periscope and as a means to keep users on the site for even longer. It was originally released last year to a select few – read: famous people – in order to test how well the broadcasting functionality worked. Recently, however, Facebook began rolling out the feature across the U.S., to anyone who uses the Android or iPhone Facebook apps.

Facebook Live Video

This is what someone looking at your feed might see (the Live Video was just a test, which is why it’s skewed).

Now, just with your smartphone, you can record video that’s better than the quality shot by most broadcast news stations just a few years ago, and broadcast it for free to Facebook. It’ll appear as a normal Facebook post in your feed, and anyone who sees your regular Facebook posts will see the Live Video broadcast. If someone watches your broadcast, they can click a subscribe button, and the next time you broadcast, they’ll get a notification to watch it.

Users who watch Live Video are able to interact with the broadcaster; they can send comments, Likes, Reactions, and other emoji; these submissions will appear on your phone, and you can respond over the broadcast if you choose.

How to Use Facebook Live Video


Currently, to broadcast video to Facebook, you must use the phone app. There’s no way to take any other video source and broadcast it, but it’s probably just a matter of time before Facebook opens it up to Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, GoPros, and other enthusiast devices.

When you’re ready to broadcast, open up the Facebook app on your phone. Tap on the Status button to update your Facebook status, just like you would with a normal text entry. At the bottom of your screen, look for an icon of a person in front of two concentric circles. This is the Live Video button. Tap it, and you’ll see the regular update screen replaced with a full-screen video.

Facebook Live Video Facebook Live Video

Here, Facebook gives you a chance to customize your broadcast. Currently, you can’t do much – that is, you can’t put your own graphics or logos into the broadcast (at least not yet, but it’s almost certainly on the way) – but you can choose the audience, just like with any Facebook post. Setting the first one to “Only Me” is a great way of trying out the Live Video feature without making an awkward broadcast to your friends and family; just be sure to change it back if you decide to use it again.

If your child has a phone or tablet with a Facebook account, you should take a moment to learn about the Live Video features, as many parents would be uncomfortable with their kids broadcasting live, location-aware, public video to the Internet.

By default, the video starts by using your front-facing camera, where applicable; if you want to shoot something other than yourself, just tap the icon to switch to the rear cam. Facebook also asks you to describe your live video, giving you an opportunity to title your post before you start streaming. Below that is a big blue button that reads “Go Live” – press it, and your broadcast starts.
Facebook Live Video Facebook Live Video

While you’re broadcasting, you’ll see the number of live viewers as well as the names of any of your friends who are watching. Below the video, you’ll see a real-time stream of comments that people are typing into the post beneath your broadcast. If you end up with trolls harassing your post, you can tap the profile picture of the offending comment, where Facebook gives you the option to block the person from watching.

When you’re finished, just tap the Finish button, and Facebook will stop recording and finish uploading the video, where it will live on your feed as any other video upload would. Currently, Facebook caps the Live Video streams to a maximum of 30 minutes – at that point, it acts just like it would if you’d hit the Finish button. You can also choose to save a video copy of your broadcast to your local phone storage before you close the Facebook app.

How to Watch Facebook Live Video

If you’d rather watch someone broadcasting to Facebook instead of starring in your own reality show, it’s really easy. We mentioned earlier that Facebook treats the live video as they do any other video upload. If you’re on a browser or using the mobile app, you’ll see a post that reads “So-and-so is live now.” Beneath that is a regular video, but if you click or tap on it, you get the live broadcast.

To get notifications of when your loved ones – or whoever else you follow on Facebook – are broadcasting, watch one of their live streams and click on the Subscribe button. Every time they broadcast from that point forward, you’ll get a Facebook notification alerting you to the event.

Facebook Live Video

Each dot is a Facebook user broadcasting live on the Internet.

Facebook also introduced a fun new feature called the Live Map, which is currently only available on the desktop (that means a web browser on either your desktop or laptop). It’s a map of the planet, with little blue dots appearing and disappearing. Each dot is a publicly available broadcast – just click on one and you’re watching a stranger do, well, who-knows-what. It’s a really fun feature, and a great way to experience someone else’s life for a time – but remember that there’s no filter on these videos, which means you might see something you aren’t comfortable with.




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  2. Gary Robertson

    04/24/2016 at 10:21 am

    I’ve been trying to get Facebook live to work on my android Tracfone to no avail. I just got a new Samsung Galaxy Core Prime and it won’t show up on it either. Any ideas?

    • Shanon Kyle Punzalan

      04/30/2016 at 2:27 am

      same as mine.. maybe the problem is not in our device but in our account setting? I guess?

  3. Emrah ORTAÇ

    05/06/2016 at 3:30 pm

    not working livemap but is working

  4. Tony Canevaro

    05/16/2016 at 3:25 pm

    Anyone have any tips for why the audio doesnt record on my FB live? Its very choppy. All of the other video recording works just fine from the same device.

    • Sharon

      05/20/2016 at 4:45 pm

      I’m having the same issues, I reported it to face book. I have only gotten a thank you for the report, response.

    • Darcie

      05/26/2016 at 5:35 am

      I’m having the same problem! What kind of phone do you have? Mine is an iPhone 5

  5. Jorge McMillan

    05/19/2016 at 1:30 pm

    A good friend of mine was using a broadcasting app like this the other day and you could see what he was going in the gym just by logging into Facebook. I’ve never seen anything like that before and I wanted to get an idea of what it was and how it works. It sounds like this technology is fairly new and that many social media services are using it in a number of ways. I’ll have to watch this and see how the competition of other services continue to feed the fire of Facebook’s live feed system.

  6. Nakirah

    06/25/2016 at 6:50 am

    I have a Galaxy Core Prime but when I updated my Facebook I still didn’t get no live but most Androids have live on there Facebook but not mines

  7. Arletta

    06/27/2016 at 8:01 pm

    I have the galley core prime phone and I can’t go live at all. I’ve emailed Facebook and nothing really starting to not like this phone. I think it’s the phone not the app itself.

  8. Gary Robertson

    06/27/2016 at 9:32 pm

    Ive tried several brands of android phones and none had the Facebook Live option. I had a coworker (who has Live on her phone) log onto her account from my phone and Live was not there. Love Periscope!!

  9. Kelly griggs

    06/30/2016 at 6:36 pm

    I tried a fb liv video on my Samsung Galaxy s5 and could not get the sound to work. Any ideas????

  10. Sherry Frewerd

    07/01/2016 at 1:32 pm

    I have no sound with my galaxy s7 either

  11. Chris Ann Kirkwood

    07/14/2016 at 3:51 am

    When I record Facebook live, my connection will go “weak” in about 40-50 seconds in while using Wi-Fi or data plan on phone and 4G is available, I am using Galaxy S6. My friend uses an Apple SE phone in same setting and location and never experiences this annoying factor I am having with my Android. Any suggestions?

    • Paul Ramsden

      08/13/2016 at 3:52 am

      Having the same issue Chris. Audio is awful as well

  12. Rachel Alexander

    08/15/2016 at 4:04 pm

    I couldn’t get FB Live to show up as an option for me on my Nexus phone. So, I tried from my Apple device and it still didn’t show up. Then I logged onto my account on my bf’s phone, who has the exact same Nexus as I do, and it showed up. What in the hell. This seems to make zero sense.

  13. Cindy Hunt

    10/08/2016 at 1:53 pm

    We have done several videos live. Just can’t figure out how to zoom in or out. Cool feature for anyone to enjoy.

  14. Morjina

    12/18/2016 at 7:00 pm

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  15. Faith

    02/11/2017 at 4:28 pm

    Hi using Gallaxy 5 & selfie stick my FB Live loaded sideways. Any ideas on how to fix would be appreciated

  16. Roxann

    04/17/2017 at 8:29 pm

    Does anyone know why I can’t go live on my Samsung galaxy s4 phone? Thanks

  17. kelly

    04/26/2017 at 6:02 am

    We all are loving this.

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