Facebook has made it clear that it wants to make video a crucial part of its business, as it looks to compete with the likes of YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. And, over the past few months, the company's been making changes to help it get there, launching new features aimed at making videos more social. One of those is Watch Party, an experimental tool introduced in January that lets members of Facebook groups watch videos together and simultaneously. That shared watching experience, which works with both live and pre-recorded videos, was only available to select users when it was first announced, but now Facebook is bringing it to every group worldwide.
With more than 1.4 billion users per month, groups has become a core product for Facebook, and it intends to use Watch Party to keep even more people locked in and connected to those who share similar interests. Facebook says that it's heard from group leaders that Watch Party is perfect for people watching things like Q&A sessions and how-to tutorials about cooking, crafting, home improvement, playing an instrument and more. Back in April, the company said that nearly two billion people had watched Facebook Live broadcasts to date, demonstrating the potential for features like Watch Party -- especially since users who watch together can comment and add emoji reactions in real time.
Soon, those Watch Parties won't just be limited to groups. Facebook also revealed that it is already testing the tool with profiles, while pages (public profiles for businesses and other organizations) could get it in the near future, as well. Facebook says that, in its internal testing, some Watch Parties were able to generate thousands of comment from people who were watching a particular video simultaneously, with some groups dedicating over 10 hours to a single Watch Party. The success of Twitch has already proven that there's a dedicated audience looking to watch internet video with others, regardless of the genre.