Facebook Watch: What It Is and How to Use It

Check out the free video-on-demand service

Facebook Watch is Facebook's video-on-demand service that combines aspects of its video-sharing functionality with premium content. It allows creators to upload their own short- and long-form videos, but it also includes original comedy, drama, and news programming. The service is free, but it does require a Facebook account.

What Is Facebook Watch?

Facebook Watch is built into Facebook, can be accessed through the main Facebook website and the Facebook app on mobile platforms and streaming devices. It can be found on its own Watch tab, which is similar to the Marketplace and Messenger tabs.

screenshot of Facebook watch

Facebook Watch isn't a cable replacement service. It's more like YouTube than YouTube TV, because it doesn't include live television from networks or cable channels. It also has a lot in common with Instagram TV, which is Instagram's entry into the YouTube-dominated field of user-generated content.

Facebook Watch includes a mixture of content from users and professionally-produced content Facebook pays to have produced. It's a lot like YouTube Premium, which includes regular YouTube videos and exclusive original programming, but Facebook Watch is free.

How to Watch Facebook Watch Content

Facebook Watch is available on the desktop website, smartphones, and other devices such as the Amazon Fire TV and Xbox One.

To use Facebook Watch, you need a Facebook account. While you can technically navigate to the page for a Facebook Watch show and play the video without an account, doing so will result in multiple pop-up messages prompting you to sign up for Facebook.

Unlike Messenger, which requires you to download an additional app, you can access Facebook Watch from within the main Facebook app. The exception is Microsoft, which has a separate Facebook Watch app for Windows.

Download for:

  1. Navigate to Facebook.com or launch the Facebook app.

  2. In the left menu bar, select Watch. On mobile, Tap the menu icon (three vertical lines), then tap Watch.

  3. Select a show or video.

How to Find Facebook Watch Videos

Facebook Watch is like Messenger or Marketplace, in that it's highly integrated with Facebook, but it exists as an extra thing that's separate from the main News Feed.

It doesn't have channels. Facebook Watch is closer to YouTube. Each program has a Show Page where you can find all the episodes, read more about them, see what other people think about the show, and interact with other viewers.

Facebook Watch features a variety of content from creators who use the platform in the same way creators use YouTube and Instagram TV. If you follow creators from those platforms, there's a chance you'll also find them on Facebook Watch.

In addition to user-generated content, the service also finances Facebook Originals in the same vein as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. This exclusive content includes original comedy and drama programming, game shows, talk shows, and news programs.

The Facebook Watch show page for Sorry For Your Loss.

It also includes live streaming sports content from the MLB, WWE, PGA, college football, and other sources.

screenshot of Facebook Watch

Once you've opened Facebook Watch, you have a few ways to find videos:

  • Editor's picks: Some of the most popular Facebook Watch videos are available via a large banner at the top of the main Facebook Watch site. Select the arrow on the right side of the banner to cycle through these options.
  • Top picks: Facebook Watch has an algorithm that attempts to find videos you'll be interested in based on your location, interests, hobbies, and videos you've watched in the past. The rest of the Facebook Watch main site is populated by these automatically chosen videos.
  • Search: Select the Search Video field and type the name of a show you're looking for. For instance, typing "Sorry For Your Loss" would bring up the Facebook Watch exclusive show of the same name.
  • Watchlist: If you select Follow on any video or show, it's added to your watchlist. You can select Latest Videos or Saved Videos in the Watchlist section of Facebook Watch to access these shows whenever you want.
  • Facebook Watch News: The News tab contains live and previously recorded news videos from local and national sources. If you want to check out some quick news videos, this is the place to look.
  • Facebook Watch Shows: This is where you'll find the shows that make up the bulk of Facebook Watch content. You can scroll through the editor's picks, look through all of the shows to see if anything is interesting, or search for something specific.
  • Gaming: This section is a little more specialized since it represents Facebook's alternative to Twitch and Youtube Gaming. This is the section of Facebook Watch where you'll find both live game streams and previously recorded videos from some of your favorite streamers.

Does Facebook Watch Have Commercials or Pay Creators?

Facebook Watch has two different ways creators can monetize their videos: Audience Network and Ad Break. Both of these methods involve inserting ads or short commercials into videos. If you watch a video on Facebook Watch, and the creator has monetized it, you'll have to watch commercials during the video.

  • Audience Network: This is geared toward larger publishers and creators of apps and games. It can be used to show ads from Facebook advertisers in apps, on websites, in Facebook Instant Articles, and in games, not just videos.
  • Ad Break: This is geared specifically toward creators who upload videos to Facebook Watch. To monetize your videos with Ad Break, your Facebook page needs to meet a number of metrics, including a minimum number of fans and a minimum number of minutes watched per video over a specific amount of time.

Can Anyone Upload to Facebook Watch?

Anyone can upload videos to Facebook, but not all of those videos end up on Facebook Watch. If you want your videos to show up on Facebook Watch, you need to upload them using a Facebook Page, not a Facebook profile or Group.

While Facebook Watch does share some similarities with YouTube and Instagram TV, you can't just sign up to Facebook, create a Page for your show, then expect your videos to show up in the service.

Here are some tips to help your videos show up on Facebook Watch:

  • Start a Facebook Page: If you don't already have a Facebook Page, you need one. This is different from your personal account, even if you name the page after yourself. The more followers your page has, and the more engagement you have with your fans, the more likely your show is to be picked up by Facebook Watch.
  • Don't use excessive promotion: Don't upload videos that play like direct advertisements for your business or products. If you have a business, and your Facebook Page promotes that business, your videos can be related to the same field, but they should be informational or entertaining.
  • Create professional-looking videos: Facebook Watch videos aren't all going to win Emmy awards, but they do need to have a higher production quality than the average YouTube video.
  • Produce several videos: If you have a series of videos ready to go, Facebook Watch is more likely to include your videos.

Facebook Watch Parties

When you host a Facebook Watch Party, group members can watch the same video, or an entire watchlist of videos, together. The video is synced up, so everyone watches at the same time, and you can also discuss what's happening in real-time by typing into a chat field in the Facebook Watch party window.

Facebook Watch Together

Similar to a Watch Party, Watch Together lets friends watch Facebook videos via Messenger video chat and Facebook Messenger Rooms. This feature is available in the Messenger and Messenger Rooms mobile apps for iOS and Android. 

To use Watch Together, start a Messenger video call or create a Messenger Room. Then swipe up to access the menu and select Watch Together. Choose a video from a category like TV & Movies or Uploaded. Facebook also offers suggestions based on your activities.

In a Messenger video call, you can watch with up to eight people, while Messenger Rooms allow up to 50.

  • How do I delete watched videos on Facebook?

    In Facebook, select your profile picture, then select More > Activity Log > Videos You've Watched or Videos Watched, depending on if you're viewing on the web or the app. Select Clear Video Watch History.

  • How do I watch Facebook Live on my Roku?

    As there isn't an app for your Roku, you'll have to watch via screen mirroring from your mobile phone or tablet. Once both your device and Roku are on the same network, on the Roku, go to Settings > System > Screen Mirroring > select your device under Allowed devices. Now, launch the Facebook app.

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