Facebook Live was a hurried project that has instigated anxieties for the company. CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to spotlight the video product after a February 2016 meeting, according to the WSJ. A product executive told him that 70 percent of live video trial users were college or high school-aged with a dominant portion being African-American teenagers, groups that had been moving away from the platform towards rivals like Snapchat. As a result, Zuckerberg ordered to put more than 100 employees under “lockdown” for two months in order to broadcast Facebook Live to everyone, sources told the paper.
Facebook Live was released to some high-profile users starting in August 2015. The company did a broader roll out to iPhone users and Android users worldwide in the upcoming months. By April 2016, everyone had the capability to go Live. However, the platform is facing issues, especially live-streamed violence. There have been at least 50 incidents of crime broadcast through the video service, according to the Wall Street Journal. Facebook has also been under fire for confiscating controversial videos, although the platform has stated some of the actions were caused by technical malfunctions rather than editorial decisions.
Advertisers told CNBC in January they were still doubtful about Facebook’s video products. Particularly for Facebook Live, companies are apprehensive over the context in which their ads will look. Facebook is also facing measurement controversies, including admitting to accidentally overvalue the average viewing time on its video ads. The company agreed to an external audit of its metrics in early February.