Instagram Live Rooms opens video streaming space for four

Instagram Live is getting support for up to four people in a single broadcast, doubling the number of participants as services like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces gain traction. Though not necessarily being pitched as an explicit rival to recent audio-focused hit Clubhouse, Instagram Live Rooms will make shared broadcasts much more straightforward.

Launched back in 2016, Instagram Live was updated in late 2017 with support for split-screen broadcasts with two people. As with individual Live videos, the footage is shown in real-time but can also be saved and added as a replay to an Instagram Story.

Four years on, Instagram is now increasing the total participant limit to four: basically you and up to three friends. "We hope that doubling up on Live will open up more creative opportunities — start a talk show, host a jam session or co-create with other artists, host more engaging Q&As or tutorials with your following, or just hang out with more of your friends," the company said today.

It'll support recently-added tools such as Live badges, which viewers can purchase and display to show support for their favorite creators and streamers. Live Rooms will also support Instagram Shopping and Live Fundraisers.

Starting a broadcast is straightforward. From the Instagram timeline, swiping left reveals the Live camera option. After you've titled the broadcast, you can tap participants either from a list of those who've requested to go live, or by searching for a specific username. Broadcasters can add and remove guests – and guests can withdraw from the Live Room themselves – with optional notification to each participants' followers.

As for moderating those videos, anybody who is blocked by any of the active participants in the Live Room won't be able to watch it, Instagram says. Similarly, anybody who has had their live access revoked because they violated the Community Guidelines will also be unable to join a Live Room. Existing Live moderation tools like reporting and block comments, and comment filters, will also apply to Live Rooms.

Down the line, meanwhile, there'll be more moderator controls and audio features, Instagram promises.

The new feature comes after Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri raised expectations yesterday for a new announcement. According to his Twitter tease, it was to be "a feature that has been requested for a while now." Unsurprisingly, that led to no shortage of speculation, including the long-demanded but so far unfulfilled Instagram iPad app.