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Facebook Messenger is giving users yet another reason to use its video calling: the app is introducing a new “Watch Together” feature that allows friends to view TV shows and other content during group calls.
The concept is similar to Facebook’s “Watch Party” feature, which enables group viewing from a dedicated page or group. But Watch Together is meant to be more immersive than a Watch Party. Because the co-watching happens during video calls, friends can simultaneously watch video content and their friends’ reactions to it.
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).
You do have one other option, though: Watch Together also supports users’ own video uploads, so friend groups can co-watch their own clips while they chat. That could be particularly useful for friends and family trying to stay in touch and keep track of each other’s pets and children, even if it won’t make your next remote Netflix party easier.
Watch Together will be rolling out to Messenger’s apps “in the coming weeks.”