Watch Party enables members of a group to view videos together, comment on them and react to them.
Videos are chosen by group administrators and moderators, and while they can choose any videos on the social network—Live or otherwise—Simo emphasized that engagement with Facebook Live videos was the motivation behind the feature, noting that Live videos drive six times more interactions than non-live videos.
Simo said Facebook decided to launch the test with groups because more than 1 billion people use the feature to connect with people who have similar interests, adding that Facebook hopes to use what it learns from this test to expand Watch Party in the future.
A Facebook spokesperson said there are no plans to monetize Watch Party at this point.
However, the opportunity is there if the feature catches on. For example, a fashion influencer could host a Watch Party in a fashion-themed group, and the influencer and members of the group could discuss clothing and accessories that appear during the video.
That scenario aligns with Facebook’s policy of ensuring that sponsored content on its platform is not obtrusive and is presented as part of the user experience.
Simo wrote, “This year we are thinking about how to bring what makes Facebook Live so special—the interactivity and the community—to more video experiences on Facebook … As Mark Zuckerberg said last week, Facebook has always been about personal connections and making it easier for people to interact with each other in meaningful ways. As we think about video on Facebook, we’re focused on creating experiences that bring people closer together and inspire human connection instead of passive consumption. That’s something Facebook can do better than anyone else, and it’s something Facebook Live has done from the start. We are excited about what might be possible when we bring the best elements of Live that people love to more video experiences like Watch Parties.”