Facebook brings private chat to live broadcasts

Sometimes your old high school acquaintances get on Facebook Live to talk about their side business hawking random crap like leggings or vitamins. You obviously tune in, and you probably send a group text to your high school besties informing them that Donna's involved in another pyramid scheme.

Now, Facebook is making it a lot easier to talk smack in these types of situations. The social network on Tuesday introduced a new feature called Live Chat With Friends, which lets you have a private conversation during a public Live broadcast without leaving the interface.

You can invite friends who are already watching, or anyone who you think might want to tune in. You can jump back into the public conversation at any time, should you need to share your thoughts with a larger audience.

"With Live Chat With Friends, you can be part of big moments with the wider community but also have the option to participate in personal conversations with the people closest to you, directly within the Live experience," Facebook Product Managers Erin Connolly and Fred Beteille wrote in a blog post. Facebook said it's currently testing this feature on mobile platforms in "several countries," and plans to roll it out "more broadly later this summer."

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Facebook also last year started letting public figures go live with a guest, and now it's extending that feature to all profiles and pages on iOS. Just select someone from the Live Viewers section or tap a comment from the person you want to invite. From there, the person you invite can opt to join your broadcast, or not. For more detailed instructions, head here.

"Sharing the screen with a friend can make going live more fun and interactive — for both you and your viewers," Connolly and Beteille wrote.

Meanwhile, Facebook as of late has had to grapple with a number of disturbing incidents broadcasted live on its platform, from murders and shootings to sexual assault and teens and tweens live streaming their own suicides. The company recently promised to add 3,000 people to its community operations team to more quickly review and respond to reports.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.