The biggest issue with companies of Facebook’s stature, is the fact that they are a little into everything. And this creates major problems for startups that are looking to make their way up in an arena that already has Facebook present in it. In a move that has surprised many but has not really shocked anyone, Facebook has blocked Prisma’s access to its Live Videos service.
Style-transfer service Prisma got into the news earlier this month, when it added livestreaming support to its iOS app — letting users apply art filter effects in real-time through Facebook Live. The feature was a hit and provided yet another vertical to the company. However, deciding that it has issues with this particular use of its live streaming API, Facebook has cut off Prisma’s access to Live videos.
That is not what is bothering anyone. After all, it is Facebook’s API and the company would be well within its right to block or allow whoever it wants. However, the reasons given to Prisma regarding this sudden exit are rather thin.
According to Facebook,
Your [Prisma’s] app streams video from a mobile device camera, which can already be done through the Facebook app. The Live Video API is meant to let people publish live video content from other sources such as professional cameras, multi-camera setups, games or screencasts.
Wow. This explanation certainly stretches the limits of our imagination. Never before has the company stopped anyone from using smartphones to live-stream. Indeed, in its FAQ regarding the usage of its Live Video API, the company has apparently forgotten to mention that fact that streaming from smartphone cameras is prohibited — even though it has gone on to put standalone cameras and drones in the no-no category.
Indeed, the FAQ even mentions that style transfer using the API is all too allowed. I mean, isn’t Prisma exactly that?
A more plausible explanation can be found in the fact that Facebook is about to launch its own style transfer filter feature. The company even previewed it in October. So, chances are that Facebook doesn’t want Prisma competing when its own style transfer app rolls out — and this latest move almost certainly means that Facebook’s app will also support live videos.
Speaking on the topic, Prisma founder Aram Airapetyan said,
We were trying to fix the issue but Facebook has a strong policy, they only let broadcast to different cameras, drones. Our app is no drone or camera. So this means we cannot do it.
However, the company is not disheartened and said that it will continue to focus its attention upon live and will seek out new ways of streaming live videos on other portals. The company also has a brand new social feature coming within a few weeks.
The priority is the social feature coming soon. But after we launch it, we’ll seriously consider giving our users an alternative for live.