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Facebook's New Live Streaming Feature Takes Aim At Meerkat, Not Periscope

Facebook is hitting Meerkat right where it hurts: celebrities.

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Facebook is trying to blow Meerkat out of the water.

The company released live-streaming functionality today, but made it available only within Mentions, an app it created for use by "actors, athletes, musicians and other influencers."

The limited release means Facebook doesn't want to go after the larger live-streaming market yet. It is instead taking aim at a very small segment of the population; celebrities, one which happens to be Meerkat's sweet spot.

Unlike Periscope, which hopes to become a window into all walks of life across the globe (hence the prominent map icon within the app's navigation), Meerkat has been positioning itself as window into the lives of celebrities. Scroll through Periscope's Twitter feed and you'll see a list of product updates. Scroll through Meerkat's Twitter feed and you'll see promoted streams from Bono, Jimmy Fallon and YouTube star Michelle Phan.

Unlike both Meerkat and Periscope, live-streams posted to Facebook don't disappear. They get archived unless a creator deletes the video after a broadcast.

Though Facebook's long-term plan for live-streaming is unclear, the company seems to be pursuing the tried and true strategy of convincing influencers to use a product it can then market to advertisers willing to shell out big dollars for a piece of that "cool."

Facebook's first foray into live-streaming is a troubling development for Meerkat, a live streaming app which in many ways sparked the recent renewed interest in live streaming.

Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at

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