Facebook has a Live problem

Facebook has a Live-video problem. I know this because of the desperate ways it's using to 1. get people to create Live videos and 2. watch these same Live videos. There are four primary tactics in play:

1. Paying for Live videos: The company pays celebrities and publishers a set amount of money to produce an agreed-upon amount of Live content for a set period of time. This has been going on for months.

2. Ads: Facebook is running commercials on TV as well as buying ad space in public places, like buses and airports.

3. News Feed placement: If you're not a company or famous person being paid thousands (or millions) of dollars to produce Live videos, it doesn't mean Facebook doesn't want you producing them! Why do you think the top of your News Feed is flooded with Live videos (and their replays)? Which leads to...

4. Notifications: This, for me, is the breaking point. Something's either wrong with Live video (i.e. not many people are watching them) and/or there are bigger plans ahead, and Facebook wants to really build up the audience in advance.

Why else would I get four Live notifications at once, three of them of practically the same thing? (A President-Obama press conference.)


Then – THEN! – as I scrolled in my (desktop) News Feed immediately after viewing these notifications, the first three posts (not counting one sponsored video) were Live videos of the same Obama press conference. If you're going to put them in the top of my News Feed, do I really need the notifications, too? Or, vice versa, to get more to the point.

These are as bad as when LinkedIn sent you a notification every time one of your connections posted a new blog, and the only way to turn them off was by "unsubscribing" from each user individually, which you couldn't do until they actually posted a blog. There was no mass unsubscribe option for all connections. Now Facebook is employing the same tactic.

(There may be a way to unsubscribe from all Live notifications on Facebook, but I can't find it.)

This is creating a forum where publishers share boring videos of supermoons and lighted buildings.


Are these really worthy of the top of my News Feed? I'm not saying there aren't people who watch them, just that there are probably other more interesting non-Live posts that should be at the top of my feed.

Instead of throwing all this in my face (particularly via tactics 3 and 4), why doesn't Facebook create a separate video section featuring live broadcasts and best-of archives? Take a page out of YouTube's book and promote them as channels.

On mobile, the Live button at the top left that takes you straight to broadcast mode could instead go to said Live page. From there, Facebook could still make it really easy to "go live," while also displaying the aforementioned mix of video content.

Put pre-rolls on it for all I care. You need revenue – I get it. But blowing up my News Feed and notifications with what is usually a boring video of an inanimate object (or a press conference for the leader of the free world that I could just as easily find on TV) is a square-peg-round-hole UX.