Messenger launches Watch Together: How to set up a watch party with friends

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of activity that used to be done in-person to move online. Work is being done remotely and friends are chatting in video calls instead of getting together in-person. In response to this massive shift toward online collaboration and communication, we've seen a number of companies roll out new features and functionality. Facebook has been building out Messenger's feature set as the pandemic progresses, and today it added a new tool called Watch Together.

Messenger Watch Together is fairly self-explanatory from the title alone, as it allows you and friends to watch videos together while you're in a video call. Watch Together will work in standard Messenger video calls as well as in the larger-scale Messenger Rooms, so it can be used both for work and leisure.

To kick off a Watch Together session, you'll first need to begin a Messenger Room or a Messenger video call (obviously). Once the call has begun, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu, which is where you'll see the "Watch Together" option. Select that and you'll be able to pick your video, whether you just want to jump into one of the videos Facebook suggests or you want search for something specific.

Facebook says that Watch Together supports up to 8 people in a video call or as many as 50 people in a Messenger Rooms call. The feature is landing this week in the Messenger Rooms and mainline Messenger apps on iOS and Android.

So, Facebook is definitely pushing to make Messenger something of a one-stop shop for all things communication. With increased competition from dedicated apps like Discord and Zoom, Watch Together could help tip the scales in Facebook's favor, assuming that people make use of the new feature. Look for it to arrive on mobile devices later this week.