Latest Facebook update is all about live video

Facebook is going all-in on the current live video trend. It is rolling out a new update to its Android and iOS apps that adds new ways to livestream video from the social network, along with additional ways to share and interact with those videos.

The update adds support for livestreaming within Facebook Groups and Facebook Events. The company states:

Live in Groups allows you to broadcast to just the people in the Facebook Group – so you can go live in your family group, or share a workout plan in a fitness group. Live in Events means you can go live from a birthday party to allow those that can't make it to join the fun, and a performer can go live backstage to the people who've RSVP-ed to the event to give them a sneak peak. You can even use Events to schedule a live Q&A session. We hope this new ability to both broadcast and watch live video within Groups and Events enables people to connect more deeply with their closest friends, family and the communities of people who share their interests.

If people want to offer their opinions on the video as it is being streamed, they can do so with the new Live Reactions emoji:

Using the same reactions we launched in News Feed, viewers can select Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry, and the reactions animate right on top of the video. Live Reactions appear in real time and disappear quickly so broadcasters and other viewers can get a sense of how people are feeling at different points during the live video – it's like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer.

Users can also pick from one of five video filters to change the look of the video, and Facebook says that a future update will allow users to draw and doodle directly on the stream. A new icon will be added to invite friends to join users to watch live video together, and a dedicated section of the app will be added to showcase trending live and non-live video streams.

All of these features will be rolled out "over the coming weeks" to the Facebook app in Google Play, so they may not appear immediately.

John Callaham