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Facebook tests video ‘Watch Parties’

Facebook is testing a new video experience called Watch Parties, designed to let groups of people watch videos together at the same time.

Facebook Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party

Watch Parties will let members of a Facebook group watch, comment and react to the same moments together to create a shared viewing experience.

Group admins will be able to choose the Watch Party videos, which can be any public video either live or recorded that is available on Facebook.

“The Watch Party viewing experience is special because of the people you are watching with,” said Facebook vice president of product, Fidji Simo, in a post on the social network.

“With everyone watching, commenting and reacting to the same moments together, it creates a shared viewing experience for video that helps build the kind of community and engagement we’ve seen with Live.”

Simo said that live videos on Facebook generate an average of six times as many interactions as regular videos and that the social network is now trying to bring that interactivity and community to more video experiences.

The news comes a week after Facebook said it is changing its news feed to focus more on “personal connections” in a move that will de-prioritise posts from businesses, brands and media.

Announcing the move, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook has always put friends and family at the core of the experience, but that user feedback indicated public posts from companies are “crowding out the personal moments”.

Facebook explicitly warned that Facebook pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease, with pages that produce posts which people don’t generally react to or comment on due to see the biggest decreases in distribution.