People who make video calls on Messenger or use its videoconferencing tool Messenger Rooms will soon be able to watch videos together with their friends and family in real time.
According to a new press release, Messenger is adding a Watch Together feature, enabling users to share their reactions to Facebook Watch videos with their friends and family during video calls and via the Messenger Rooms group video-calling feature.
During a group video call (or Messenger Room hangout), any participant can choose a clip from Facebook’s video catalog — the shows and other content you’d normally find in the “Watch” tab — and it will play for everyone in the call. It doesn’t, however, support YouTube or videos from other streaming sites, so your viewing options will be somewhat limited (though Facebook says it’s adding some new content to coincide with the feature’s launch).
Olivia Grace, a product manager for Facebook Messenger, said in an interview that she envisions some users turning to Watch Together for group exercise classes or cooking tutorials. Friends and family will be able to see the reactions of their loved ones on a video call as they’re watching a show or video.
“We’re really trying to replicate that experience of sitting together on the couch,” she said, or when a friend nearby recommends a video via phone.
To start a Watch Together session, people can begin a Messenger video call or create a Messenger Room, and then swipe up to access the menu and choose Watch Together. They can then choose from suggested videos or categories such as TV & Movies, Watched or Uploaded. Videos can be watched with up to eight people on video calls and up to 50 people in Rooms.
Watch Together will roll out globally on iOS and Android in the coming weeks.