Users no longer have to be in the same room – or even on the same continent – to watch videos together, thanks to Facebook’s latest offering.
On Monday (Sept. 14), Facebook announced the launch of a new Watch Together feature that enables families, friends and others to view Facebook Watch videos together on their own screens, wherever they may be.
The feature, which is available on mobile devices for iOS and Android, allows up to eight people to watch together on a Messenger video call and up to 50 in Messenger Rooms.
Anyone looking to watch a video with someone else can either start a Messenger video call or create a Messenger Room and then “swipe up to access the menu and select Watch Together,” according to Facebook.
Users can either pick from videos suggested to them based on their interests, or from a category like “TV and Movies.”
For Facebook, Watch Together comes after two years of work, with the social media giant having first unveiled plans two years ago for the new video sharing/watching feature in 2018 at its F8 developer conference, according to TechCrunch.
However, Facebook also clearly sees a very big market opening for its newest product amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has led many consumers to increasingly rely on social media amid lockdowns, quarantines and isolation.
“We created Watch Together to make spending quality time with friends and loved ones feel as close to an in-person experience as possible,” wrote Nora Micheva, product manager at Facebook, in the rollout of the social media giant’s newest gizmo. “While nothing can replace being in the same room with the people you love, Watch Together comes pretty close.”
Facebook is also pitching Watch Together to creators and consumers as a way to share video content – or, in the case of fitness gurus, to share workout sessions – with their customers and followers.
To highlight this potential use, Facebook said it is creating a series of videos with celebrity fitness trainer and author Melissa Alcantara that can be shared and watched simultaneously by people looking to work out together.