Facebook is opening up Mentions and its live broadcasting app to more people starting today, but only if you have a verified profile. This is the latest expansion since the apps debuted earlier this year.
Opening this up to those with verified profiles and journalists isn’t that surprising — the company confirmed reports in August, but hadn’t specified the timing. Now more people will be able to show off what they’re doing, reporting from the scene and interacting with their followers live — just like you’d have with Periscope or Meerkat.
It’s likely that Verified Profiles are people who are at least somewhat interesting or have a following. So opening up both Mentions and Live will certainly help give them better capabilities to engage with their audience and built a better rapport with them.
Of course the journalistic aspect is certainly intriguing, as no longer will viewers have to make do with liveblogging or tweets, but instead can have a central place to quickly discuss the latest events with the journalist on the scene, whether it’s at an Apple event, a developer conference like F8, or in Syria documenting the refugee situation.
As Facebook seeks to connect the next five billion people around the world, it’s certainly moving beyond just text and photos — it’s going after the live component. Where’s one of the main places where you can have a real town hall-type discussion on the Web? Facebook. Imagine being at the Academy Awards and livestreaming what’s going on and taking questions right from the stage. Or perhaps using Facebook Live at a presidential debate. Or maybe going behind the scenes at a rally over a social issue in a nearby town.