SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has allowed users to follow celebrities and public figures via live video since early August, but the social network now plans to roll out the feature for everyone.

The company announced in a blog post that it has begun testing Live Video with a small percentage of iPhone users in the US, who will be able to share live streamed video content with their friends.

Although Facebook did not say when all of its 1.5 billion users will be able to use their smartphones to broadcast video, it reportedly hopes to introduce the feature to Android devices early next year and to roll it out eventually to all users of its mobile app.

By clicking on the Live Video icon, which will sit within the status update option, users will be able to choose the audience they want to share their video with.

During the broadcast, users will see the number of live viewers, the names of friends who are tuning in as well as real-time comments.

The feature differs from other video apps, such as Twitter's Periscope, in that it is aimed at engagement with close contacts rather than wide distribution.

Also, the videos will be archived after they have been broadcast and then saved to the user's timeline. Users can delete them if they want or keep them for their friends to watch at a later date.

"No matter where you are, Live lets you bring your friends and family right next to you to experience what's happening together," said Facebook product managers Vadim Lavrusik and Thai Tran.

In addition to its update about Live Video, Facebook unveiled a new way of sharing photos that enables users to group photos and videos into a scrolling, moving collage.

Recent pictures can be organised, based on the time and place that they were taken, before being edited, titled and posted. Facebook said collages would be available immediately on iPhone devices and rolled out to Android early next year.

Data sourced from Facebook, The Verge; additional content by Warc staff