Facebook adds livestream features to old videos

Watch Party will initially be available to select Groups.

Facebook says its Live videos are wildly popular and generate around six times the interaction other videos do. That's why it's testing a new feature that adds the elements responsible for making Live a more engaging, interactive experience to non-Live videos on the platform. Starting today, select Groups will have access to "Watch Party," an experimental tool that creates a shared experience for multiple users. It allows administrators to post any public video on their Group, which members can then watch together at the same time. (Also, it probably helps that a billion accounts use Facebook Groups every month.) They can even leave comments and reactions that show up on screen the same way they do on Live, whatever it is they're watching.

The company decided to conduct initial testing within Groups, since members are bound by common interests and are more inclined to watch videos together. A lot of people join Groups to get the latest news about their interest, after all, and information is often presented in video form on the website. Fidji Simo, Facebook's VP of Product, said the social network will be studying how testers use Watch Party in order to get it ready for a wider release in the future.