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Twitter's Periscope lets you add guests to live videos

The social network wants live videos to feel more like a talk show.


Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter wants people who use its live video streaming app Periscope to channel their inner talk show host.

On Monday, the social network said it added a new feature to Periscope that lets users invite and add guests to their live videos.


Periscope users can invite up to three guests to their live video broadcasts.


Periscope users can add up to three guests in a live stream at a time by clicking on an icon that displays two smiley faces. When someone joins a live video, viewers will only be able to hear audio from the guest's account during the live stream. Users will also be able to remove someone from a live video and guests can leave at any time.

Twitter, which also allows users to stream a live video through its main app, said it plans to add this feature to the social network along with a way for guests to share a live video. The move shows that Twitter is still investing in live video as it faces stiff competition from larger tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, which also lets users stream live broadcasts.

"Live video is powerful and allows for a live, synchronous conversation between a broadcaster and their audience -- where the broadcaster is able to talk to their audience with their camera and voice, and viewers could talk using text," Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter's head of product and Periscope co-founder, said in a statement. "With this launch, we're enabling richer conversations by allowing viewers to call in, like a talk show, and join with their voice. This makes live conversations even more fluid, and allows for new possibilities and ways people can have conversations." 

Twitter purchased Periscope for an undisclosed amount in 2015, fueling the rise of more live video on social networks. A regulatory filing later showed that Twitter spent $86 million to acquire both Periscope and social media startup Niche.

While the live streaming app has been used to broadcast political protests, Periscope has also dealt with the dark sides of live streaming such as piracy, suicides and child pornography.

The use of Periscope also didn't pick up steam as larger social networks such as Facebook jumped on the live-streaming bandwagon. Twitter declined to share how many people currently use Periscope. The app hasn't released user numbers since August 2015 when it revealed that more than 10 million people had a Periscope account.

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