The current “big thing” in the world of video is live user-generated content. Pioneered by the likes of Twitch and Periscope, Facebook Live arrived in 2015. In this article we’ll explain how to go live on Facebook, along with a few hidden risks you need to watch out for.
How to Go Live on Facebook
You can broadcast on Facebook Live via any platform, including Android and iOS, as well as through the main Facebook website using a web browser.
Note: The process for broadcasting live on Facebook and watching a Facebook Live video is different.
Let’s take a look at the method for all three approaches.
How to Go Live on Facebook on Android
Using Facebook Live on Android and iOS is the best solution if you want to broadcast from an event. You won’t be restricted by the lack of portability of a laptop or a desktop.
If you own an Android device, follow the step-by-step instructions below to get started:
- Open the Facebook app.
- Tap on What’s on your mind? at the top of the screen, as if you were about to create a new text post.
- Scroll down and tap on Go Live. You may need to approve new permissions.
- Choose your audience in the To: field. You can select Public, Friends, Specific people, Only me, or a group that you belong to. You can also choose whether the people you’re broadcasting to will receive a notification about your video.
- Enter a description so your viewers know what your video is about. This box provides an excellent opportunity to use hashtags.
- Select a theme for your broadcast. If you don’t want a theme, just choose Live video.
- Lastly, tap on Start Live Video.
To end your broadcast, tap Finish.
How to Go Live on Facebook on iOS
The process for going live on Facebook through the iOS app is very similar to Android.
Use the following instructions to start your broadcast:
- Open the Facebook app.
- At the top of the screen, tap on Live (you will find it below the What’s on your mind? field).
- Choose your audience by tapping on To: at the top of the screen (it’s quite small, so pay attention!). As with Android, you can create a public video, broadcast to a subset of people, or broadcast to a group of which you’re a member.
- Click on Tap to add a description to let potential viewers know what your video is about. You can use hashtags in this field.
- Select a theme for your video at the bottom of the window.
- To start your broadcast, tap on Start Live Video.
When you want to end your Facebook Live broadcast, tap Finish.
How to Go Live on Facebook on the Web
Just because using Facebook Live on Android and iOS is the best choice if you need portability, it doesn’t mean you should rule out using the web app.
If your content is more serious in nature (perhaps you’re broadcasting something in a professional capacity or providing educational material), the steadier camera of a laptop or desktop may be preferable.
To use Facebook Live on the web, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Facebook.com in your browser.
- Click on What’s on your mind? at the top of the news feed. A new window will pop out.
- Select the three horizontal dots on the right-hand side of the new window.
- Click on Live video. You might need to approve some new permissions.
- Using the panel on the right-hand side of your screen, choose your audience, add a description, and add a title.
- If you want to add a poll to your video, select the Interactive tab at the top of the panel.
- Finally, when you’re ready, click on Go Live.
The Hidden Risks of Broadcasting Live on Facebook
Because broadcasting on Facebook Live is so accessible, it’s easy to overlook the risks. Doing so puts you in danger. There are some important risks you need to know about.
You’re Revealing Your Location
if you’ve never met up with someone by using the Facebook live location feature to find them, you haven’t lived
— James (@yungweather_) December 24, 2018
You can add your location whenever you make a post of any type on Facebook. A Facebook Live video is no different.
Clearly, this has serious privacy and security implications. It might be tempting to let the whole world know that you’re vlogging from a beach in Bali, but in doing so, you’re effectively informing house intruders and other undesirables you’re not at home.
Of course, you might also have people in your friends list from whom you’d rather keep such information (for example, employers, ex-partners, and local business owners).
Live Videos Are Available Forever
Don’t assume that just because you finished your broadcast, your video is no longer available.
In practice, the video will remain on your timeline forever. The audience you selected at the time of broadcasting will always be able to see it.
Perhaps that’s not an issue in the short-term, but with employers, immigration officials, and governments increasingly looking to social media to gain an insight on a person, it could come back to bite you in the future.
If you don’t want your video to be available as a permanent window into your life, we suggest you delete it sooner rather than later.
The deletion process is the same as for any other Facebook post; find the post on your timeline, click on the three horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner, and hit Delete.
Broadcast Have a Limited Length
Let’s suppose you start a live broadcast from an event (for example, we broadcast a live video from CES in Las Vegas). There’s a fair chance that your video becomes super popular; you might have tens of thousands of people tuning in.
But did you know that Facebook Live broadcasts are limited to four hours? If you hit the limit, the transmission will end without warning, and you will lose all your viewers.
If you suspect that your video will last for more than four hours, you need to make contingency plans. Tell your viewers about the limit and explain how they can instantly tune in for part two of your broadcast.
Keyboard Warriors Will Target You
Remember, anyone who can see your video and also comment and react to your video. This being the internet, it means you might be subject to a fair number of trolls and hurtful comments, especially if your broadcast is political in nature.
Make sure you mentally prepare yourself before you go live; it could save you from some heartache down the road.
Other Ways to Broadcast Live Video
Facebook Live has grown to become a major player in the video sector, but it is not the only way to broadcast live to the world.