Facebook takes on YouTube with the debut of ‘Watch’

Watching video online is getting more social.

On Wednesday, Facebook said it was introducing a platform called “Watch” that will allow users to discover new shows that their friends are also watching.

“Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things,” wrote Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in a post.

Taking on Google-owned YouTube and Twitter, it’s Facebook’s latest effort to get more video content on the social network. The move also allows the company to go after more lucrative video ad dollars.

The tech firm said Watch will be available to a limited group of people in the United States, but did not say how many and when.

“We’ve learned from Facebook Live that people’s comments and reactions to a video are often as much a part of the experience as the video itself,” wrote Daniel Danker, Facebook’s director of product, in a blog post. “So when you watch a show, you can see comments and connect with friends and other viewers while watching, or participate in a dedicated Facebook Group for the show.”

Danker wrote users will be able to see through different sections what are the most talked about shows, what is making people use the “Haha” reaction emoji and what their friends are viewing.

It’s also been funding shows that are community-oriented and have a series of episodes, the company said.

“We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports,” Danker wrote.

He pointed to Facebook’s plans to broadcast baseball games,  a cooking show for kids by Tastemade and other content.

Facebook made the announcement a day before its rival Snap is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings.

Photo Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images (above). Facebook ‘Watch’ product shots provided by tech firm. 


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