Facebook has launched a new feature: Watch Party.

Watch Party is a way for people to watch videos on Facebook together in real time. Here's what you need to know about it, including how it works.

What is Facebook Watch Party?

Facebook has officially launched a new feature, called Watch Party, which allows its users to simultaneously watch Facebook videos together. Their streams are synced so that they can comment and react in real-time. At launch, Watch Parties can only be started within Groups. Key features include the ability to designate co-hosts who can add videos and crowdsourcing so others can suggest videos.

How does Facebook Watch Party work?

With Watch Party, there is a "host" who starts a stream. Participants can watch the stream - live or recorded - and interact with one another in the same moment. The host can add videos to the watch queue and control playback. Multiple people can host the Watch Party, too, which also gives them the ability to choose videos to add. Participants can suggest videos, but they won't be able to add them.

How do you start a Facebook Watch Party?

Creating a Watch Party

  1. From your News Feed, click Groups in the left menu and select your group.
  2. Click Watch Party at the top of the group.
  3. Click Add Video. You can then search for a video.
  4. Click Add to Queue next to any videos you'd like to add, then click Done.
  5. You can choose to add a description for your Watch Party, then click Post
  6. You'll see a message that says: “Your Watch Party Is About To Begin.”
  7. To add friends, type their name, click Invite next to their picture, then Done.
  8. Any friends you invite will receive a notification.
  9. When a friend joins, you'll see their picture in the bottom left of your screen.
  10. Once your party starts, you can click Add Video to add videos to the queue.
  11. You can also click Write something... on the right to chat with your friends.
  12. You can click to add emojis, GIFs, photos or videos to your comments, as well.
  13. Click Invite in the bottom left to add more friends to your party, if desire.
  14. When finish, click End Watch Party.

See Facebook's help tutorial for more details.

Scheduling Watch Parties in advance

Currently, Watch Party can't be scheduled.

Finding live Watch Parties

If a Watch Party is happening in a group you're in, it will appear as a post when you visit that group.

Re-watching Watch Parties

Once you finish your Watch Party, a recap will be saved in your group as a post, which shows all videos watched during the party. No comments made during the original Watch Party will be available for viewing.

What's the point of Watch Party?

Facebook said Watch Party is useful for hosting Q&As, sharing behind the scenes details of a video, swapping tips and tricks, showing makeup tutorials in real time, learning new things like a workout technique, and inviting special guests to join their Watch Party. In its testing, it's seen Watch Parties, both big and small, often generating hundreds or even thousands of comments.

There were even groups that dedicated more than 10 hours to a single Watch Party, "with different members coming in and out throughout the day," the company said in a blog post. This shared viewing experience can also be used to, Facebook explained, connect families who live apart by bridging the distance between them when they can’t physically be together. The possibilities are endless.

"Imagine sitting down to watch a loved one’s graduation video with your extended family when they couldn’t be there in person, reliving a vacation by sharing videos and swapping memories, or even just hanging out with friends watching funny videos together," Facebook added.

Who uses Watch Party and why?

Here are some recent examples provided by Facebook:

  • Dogspotting Society Group used Watch Party to watch dog videos together.
  • Big Ballers hosted a Season 2 Binge so fans could catch up together.
  • Royal enthusiasts used Watch Parties to watch the Royal Wedding together.
  • KARD, a K-Pop group, celebrated its anniversary with fans via a Watch Party.
  • FIN, a women-only group, hosted parties for members to discuss topics.

Where is Facebook Watch Party available?

Facebook first announced and started testing Watch Party in January. As of July 2018, Watch Party is available around the globe but can only be started within Groups. The videos also have to be hosted on Facebook, though they can be live or prerecorded.

Want to know more?

See Pocket-lint's other handy Facebook guides: