Facebook Live is the social network’s live video platform. It allows users to stream footage from their smartphone cameras directly to their Facebook news feeds.
The content is diverse. There’s plenty of creative, funny, and thought-provoking footage. Unfortunately, you might also encounter less-than-savory content such as murders, sexual assaults, and suicide, though it should be noted that these cases are few and far between.
Here’s how to watch Facebook Live and how to find good content.
Why Is Facebook Live So Popular?
Facebook Live has been accessible for some users since mid-2016, becoming available to everyone in January 2017.
The platform has quickly grown in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why:
- On average, live videos enjoy six times more engagement than regular videos.
- 78 percent of online video audiences use Facebook Live.
- To date, publishers have earned $50 million in ad revenue for using Facebook Live.
This all means that one out of every five new Facebook videos is now a live broadcast. Live videos rack up eight billion views per day.
Facebook Live via the News Feed
If someone with whom you have a connection on Facebook (such a friend, page, group, or celebrity you’re following) decides to broadcast live on Facebook, their video will appear in your news feed.
However, it’s not a particularly satisfactory way of finding content. The method relies on a few variables:
- You need some form of Facebook relationship with the person or entity.
- Facebook’s algorithms have to opt to show you the video in your news feed.
- You need to be on Facebook at the exact moment that the other person is filming.
How to Watch Facebook Live on Desktop
If you want a more efficient way of tuning into Facebook Live videos from your desktop, you have two options available to you.
1. Use the Navigation Panel
The most common way of accessing Facebook Live videos is to use the dedicated link in the navigation panel on the left-hand side of the Facebook news feed.
You will find the link—titled Live Video—in the Explore section. You may need to click on Show More to reveal it.
Unfortunately, it seems there is no longer a way to pin your most used links from the Explore menu to the top of the left-hand panel.
2. Use the URL
You can save time and head straight to the Facebook Live page from anywhere on the web by entering the service’s URL in your browser’s address bar. The URL is facebook.com/live.
It will take you to the same page as using the navigation bar method described above.
Whichever of the two methods you choose, you will be presented with a map of your region. Each blue dot represents a live video.
How to Watch Facebook Live on Android
If you want to watch Facebook Live on your Android device, you can once again turn to your news feed or use the dedicated link.
To find the dedicated link, open Facebook and follow the instructions below:
- Tap on the More tab (three horizontal lines) in the upper-right hand corner of the app.
- Scroll down the page and select See More.
- Tap on Live Videos.
- Choose the video you want to watch.
How to Watch Facebook Live on iOS
The process for watching Facebook Live videos on iOS is broadly the same as the Android process.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Open the Facebook app.
- Tap on the More tab in the lower right-hand corner.
- Scroll down and select See More.
- Tap on Live Videos.
- Choose the video you want to watch.
Other Ways to Find Facebook Live Videos
If you can’t find what you’re looking using the Live Video links as described above, there are a few other ways you can find Facebook Live videos to watch.
Enable Live Video Notifications
One of the best ways to make sure you never miss a live stream from someone you follow is to enable live video notifications.
To turn on notifications for Facebook Live, click on the small arrow in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook homescreen, then head to Settings > Notifications > Edit and toggle Live Videos to On.
Note: Perform the reverse steps if you want to silence Facebook Live notifications.
Facebook Live streamers have adopted the #live hashtag to indicate when they are on air. Of course, not every live streamer uses it, but it’s a good way to find specific videos.
You can search for the hashtag using the search bar at the top of the home screen on the desktop. You can even append other words, for example, #live Fortnite would bring up videos of people playing the game.
Ask People to Share Facebook Live Videos With You
Like all content on Facebook, there is an internal Share button which you can use to share the people with other users.
If your friends have similar interests, tell them to share Facebook Live videos with you whenever they find something worthwhile.
Watch Old Facebook Live Videos
When someone finishes recording a Facebook Live video, the content is saved and added to the person’s profile for posterity.
It means you can scroll back through a person’s timeline and find old Facebook Live videos.
When you click on an old video, all their other old broadcasts will automatically load into a single playlist which you can then browse.
Warning: Adult Content on Facebook Live
— New York Post (@nypost) April 18, 2018
Facebook Live does occasionally play host to adult or inappropriate videos, including pornography, violence, and other unsavory content.
Some of it is unplanned and can be filed in the “perils of live TV” category. However, some of it very much is planned and is actively advertised in the darkest corners of the web.
Naturally, Facebook’s terms and conditions do not permit videos of this nature, but because it’s live, it’s incredibly hard to filter out in advance. There’s no way for you to preemptively block adult videos.
Luckily, the content only represents a tiny fraction of the 3,000 years’ worth of video watched every day—you’d have to be incredibly unfortunate to stumble into it by accident. Nonetheless, it’s important to realize that the risk exists.
Other Ways to Watch Live Streams Online
Facebook Live is just one of a growing number of services that allow regular people around the world to stream their content to the masses.
Check out our article about everything you need to know about Twitch Prime and our comparison of Facebook Live and Periscope if you want to learn about other ways to watch live user-generated videos online.