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Why Instagram is Taylor-made for dominance of social media

Celeb endorsements give lead over rivals, says Katie Wright

Following its unveiling in America last year, Instagram has introduced live video in the UK. Part of "Stories" mode, which lets users post photos that are deleted after 24 hours, the feature is accessed by scrolling to video mode in the Stories camera, then tapping "Start Live Video".

A pink "Live" tag will then show up on profile photos in the Stories bar, so your followers can tune in, comment and "like", sending little hearts fluttering up your screen.

Broadcasts can last up to an hour and will disappear when you stop filming.

When the new tool was announced in the US in November, the social network also revealed that Stories had proven very popular in the three months since its launch, with more than 100 million people using it daily.

Some very famous Instagrammers have been getting in on the live action, included the platform's most-followed individual, singer Selena Gomez (107 million followers), who talked through what she learned in 2016 in a New Year video.

Her best friend Taylor Swift (96.5 million followers) watched and commented, too, while actors including Sarah Jessica Parker and Sofia Vergara gave fans a look behind the scenes while they were getting ready for the Golden Globes.

The move comes some nine months after Facebook unveiled its own live streaming feature and began a heavy marketing campaign, which included billboards and, reportedly, millions of pounds spent on deals with celebrities and media outlets to use the tool.

It looks like the push paid off, however, as a new report from UBS Evidence Lab reveals Facebook has overtaken YouTube in terms of live video watching in the US.

In June, 21% of internet users said they watched live video on YouTube compared to just 14% for Facebook Live, but by November, watchers on YouTube had dropped to 16% and risen to 17% on Facebook.

It's believed Facebook's one-year publishing deals will expire in spring and won't be renewed, which suggests Mark Zuckerberg is hoping his social network can maintain the Live momentum without help.

The 32-year-old CEO has said live content is watched three times longer and garners 10 times more comments than regular videos.

It's not known whether Instagram pays celebs to go live, but clearly the firm is hoping to encourage current users to choose Stories over Facebook and to entice newbies who might otherwise be considering joining Snapchat, the platform that focuses on ephemeral messages, and which already has a live video feature.

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