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Facebook Brings the Watch Party Shared Experience to Live TV

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Facebook is expanding its Watch Party feature from on-demand or live videos to live TV.

The social network first introduced the feature in January 2018, letting members create group viewing events out of stored videos or live streams. An admin or moderator chooses or posts videos which everyone on the Group page can then watch at the same time. Now, the feature has expanded to TV viewing, creating a shared social experience out of private home viewing.

The TV expansion is still in the testing phase, though, as Facebook will only create Watch Party sessions around sports events. To check it out, Facebook members should go to Groups during live games, start a Watch Party, then select "on TV." Once in the event, they can keep track of the score (which will be posted at the top of the screen) and share reactions with other fans.

If that sounds a lot like Twitter—which is devoted to TV coverage every night during prime time—Facebook is adding a few extras. Hosts can throw out trivia questions, fun facts, and live polls, for example. Look for the feature to expand beyond TV sports in the near future.

"While we’re testing this initially with sports, we can’t wait to bring it to all kinds of live events and cultural moments, from awards shows to highly anticipated show premieres and more," wrote Paresh Rajwat, head of video products, and Tamara Hrivnak, head of music business development and partnerships, in a blog post.

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