Services & Software

Facebook tests Watch Party live chats for videos Facebook doesn't have

The company's testing a group chat for live TV.

Claudia Cruz/CNET

Facebook is testing a new format of its Watch Party social-video chat that's meant for live TV unavailable to stream Facebook itself. 

The company made the announcement Wednesday at a South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas. It also announced that its original series Red Table Talk, a talk program with Jada Pinkett Smith, would return with 20 new episodes starting in May. 

Facebook launched the Watch Party format last year, its idea of a vast digital living room for fans to share conversation about a video at the same time. 

The test of the live-TV Watch Party concept will start in Facebook Groups during live sports events like UEFA Champions League soccer matches. When you start a Watch Party, Facebook will offer new option called "on TV," where you can select the live game. Instead of including the video at the top, the design will put live game scores and interactive tools like trivia and polls above its feed of comments. 

In addition, Facebook announced that it's expanded the ability to share personal videos with music in more than 40 countries, up from 15 countries in October. It's also adding the ability for people to tap through to listen to songs on Spotify from a Facebook Profile.