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Facebook dials in live audio streaming option

Dec 21. 2016
(FILES) This file photo taken on November 21, 2016 shows Facebook logos pictured on the screens of a smartphone (R), and a laptop computer, in central London. / AFP PHOTO
(FILES) This file photo taken on November 21, 2016 shows Facebook logos pictured on the screens of a smartphone (R), and a laptop computer, in central London. / AFP PHOTO
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By Agence France-Presse

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SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook on Monday began testing a live audio streaming service that will let people essentially broadcast radio-style on the leading online social network.

Partners working with Facebook to test "Live Audio" included BBC World Service, book publisher HarperCollins, British talk radio station LBC, and authors Adam Grant and Brit Bennett.

The new feature comes as an alternative to a Facebook tool that lets people stream live video at the social network.

"We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video," Facebook product specialist Shirley Ip and software engineer Bhavana Radhakrishnan said in a blog post.

An audio-streaming option promised to be useful in areas where telecommunication networks have trouble handling the larger data demands of video streaming, according to the post.

Listeners can discover live audio content in the Facebook News Feed, ask questions and leave reactions in real time during broadcasts.

Facebook said it would be testing Audio Live with partners in coming weeks and then roll it out more broadly next year.

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