Facebook’s new “Watch Together” feature supports up to eight people in Facebook Messenger, or up to 50 people using Messenger Rooms. However you decide to structure your digital party, it’s a convenient way to get everyone watching (and commenting) on the same videos at the same time.
Group watching isn’t a unique feature these days. However, Facebook’s implementation lets you watch both the video and your fellow chatters’ camera feeds in the same app window, adding a novel twist compared to most other watch party features. That should make watching together feel a little more communal — as long as you’re actually interested in the video content on Facebook in the first place.
Watch Together can only be used for videos uploaded or streamed on Facebook User-created clips and live streams comprise most of Facebook’s video content, making the feature best for sharing personal videos or memes with people you aren’t able to see often.
It probably won’t work for your next movie night or binging a season of a show with your long-distance friends, unless you plan to watch something from Facebook’s small selection of exclusive movies and web series. Facebook’s announcement post says it’ll be adding more produced content in the future, and though there’s some decent stuff available, it’s still rather slim for now.
Content restrictions aside, Watch Together is easy to get set up:
- Start a group video call in Messenger or Messenger Rooms.
- Swipe up to open the in-call menu.
- Tap “Watch Together.”
- Select the video you want to watch with your group.
The app will display a list of suggested videos when you select “Watch Together,” or you can use the search bar to find a specific page or video. You can also browse through a list of other categories:
- “TV & Movies” includes original and third-party titles available through Facebook;
- “Music,” includes recoded performances and music videos.
- “Live,” all on-air live streams happening at that moment.
- “Uploaded,” lets you share videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook.
- “Watched,” a history of videos you’ve watched already.
Facebook says the rollout will hit its various Messenger apps over the coming weeks, so if you give Messenger’s Watch Together feature a try and can’t seem to find it, just hold out a little longer.
In the meantime, we can show you how to organise a long-distance movie night using Movies Anywhere, or sync up shows on BBC, Disney+, or Netflix so you can watch with your friends remotely.