Facebook Watch: Details about Facebook's YouTube competitor

How do you access it? How does it work? Is it a Youtube replacement? Netflix? We have the answers.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read
Watch this: Facebook TV is happening, rivaling Netflix and YouTube

Facebook on Thursday announced Watch, an original video platform for your viewing pleasure.

Below are some common questions you may find yourself asking (or answering) about the new Facebook platform.

Do I have access?

Odds are you don't quite yet. Facebook has said it's going to start with a "limited group of people in the US" and then expand to more users "soon."

How do I know if I have it?

From what we can gather, the Video tab will be replaced with the new Watch icon. It looks like a computer monitor with a Play icon in the middle of it. 

To try and force your account to get the new feature, force-close the Facebook app on your phone and then reopen it. 

I have Watch! Now what?

If you've ever opened the Video tab in the app before, then you're ahead of the game. Scroll through the Watch feed, and when you find a video you want to watch, tap on the thumbnail and it will start playing. There's also a Discovery section with personalized recommendations for you based on your Facebook account. 

What can I do besides watch videos?


Facebook Watch comment thread. 


Watch has a comment feature so you can chat with those who are watching the same video as you, but it's unclear if the list of comments you see will be all comments or only those posted while you're watching. 

Also, you can follow shows to stay on top of new episodes or add videos to your watch-later list.

How is Watch different from the old Video tab?

Watch looks and works similarly to the former Videos tab. Only, instead of a stream of videos curated from various Facebook Pages and accounts, Watch shows you videos created exclusively for Facebook.

In other words, previously the videos you watched could have been -- and often were -- posted across multiple social networks. With Watch, the videos you find there can only be found there.

So it's basically YouTube?

Kind of. It's more like a mashup of YouTube and Netflix with exclusive content, sometimes in a serial format, combined with a social twist.

Will Watch be Live?

Yes, Facebook has already announced a few different shows that will be carried live. Gabby Bernstein, a New York Times bestselling author, will use Live to answer questions from fans, and Major League Baseball will stream one game each week. Not everything will be live, however. 

Can I watch on a TV?

Yes. If your account has Watch access, that is. 

Facebook has TV apps for Apple TV , Amazon Fire TV , Samsung Smart TV and Android TV. 

All right, what's it cost?

Right now, it's free. Well, free in the sense that you're surely going to see ads and Facebook is going to use what you watch to better target you with those ads. But, as far as a monthly fee, you don't have to pay a thing.

Updated, 2:15 p.m. PT: Updated with info from Facebook on TV apps and how to check if you have the feature.