Coronavirus lockdowns have spurred a surge in virtual guard parties to hang out with friends, and Facebook is getting involved.
“The connection via video has understandably gained in importance for our messenger community in the last few months,” said Nora Micheva, product manager at Facebook, in a blog post.
“We designed Watch Together so that you could be as close to a personal experience as possible with friends and relatives.”
Micheva says more than 150 million video calls are sent daily through Messenger and more than 200 million videos are sent through the service every day.
With Watch Together, users can simultaneously enjoy videos while chatting with friends on the screen in a video call.
“Whether you’re watching a trending video, a movie, a sports highlight, a makeup tutorial or a Facebook Watch original, this feature lets you see your friends’ reactions at the same time,” said Micheva.
To get started, Facebook has partnered with well-known fitness trainer Melissa Alcantara to create a series of training videos.
Watch Together can be activated through a messenger video call for up to eight people or in virtual “rooms” that up to 50 online friends can visit at the same time.
Facebook introduced the virtual “room” feature earlier this year, allowing friends to visit via online video to help users stay locked out during the pandemic.
The social network has also made it possible for artists, teachers, creators, and others to host paid events online as real-world gatherings have been thwarted by virus prevention measures.
gc / sst