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Facebook opens up Watch Parties to all, in a bid to make video watching more social

Watch parties might sound like the world’s most boring Friday night get-together, where geeks compare smartwatches, but it’s actually the name Facebook gives to a group of people watching a video together online …

The company first began rolling out the feature back in the summer.

Watch Party is a new way for people to watch videos on Facebook together in real time. Once a Watch Party is started, participants can watch videos, live or recorded, and interact with one another around them in the same moment.

The feature can be used with live video broadcasts, where comments can be used for things like Q&A sessions, but also with pre-recorded ones, everyone watching in sync.

Watch Parties were initially limited to Facebook groups, but now anyone with a Facebook page – or just a profile – can host one. The social network is also adding some new features, including the ability to schedule them in advance – something that is all but essential for smaller groups and pages.

We’re adding the ability for Pages and Groups to schedule a Watch Party, helping drive participation in advance and helping people discover Watch Parties they’re interested in. We’re adding threaded comments so it’s easier for people to interact and have conversations within a Party with many comments. And we’re starting to roll out Live Commentating, which lets a host go Live within a Party to share commentary as videos play.

Finally, we’ve been rolling out the ability for people to host Parties of their own, and today this capability is available globally. Now all people around the world can start Parties with friends directly from a video they’re enjoying or from their Timeline — giving people more ways to interact with friends around video from their favorite publishers on Facebook.

Here are the instructions for launching Watch Parties from a page you manage:

  1. Go to the Page you want to host a Watch Party from.
  2. Click in the Write a Post… box to open the composer.
  3. Click […] to find more options.
  4. Click Watch Party.
  5. Click Add Video. You can search for a video or click a tab such as Watched, Group, Live, Saved, or Suggested to view additional videos. The Page tab will show videos from your own Page.
  6. Click Add to Queue next to any videos you’d like to add to your watch party.
  7. Optional: click View Queue to view your playlist before going live.
  8. Click Done.
  9. You can add a title and a description for your Watch Party.
  10. Click Post. You’ll see a message that says “Your Watch Party Is About To Begin.”

Once you’re done, hit the […] menu again and select End Watch Party.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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