Facebook Watch review

Facebook Watch highlights

  • Free with Facebook account
  • Offers both YouTube-like short-form content, as well as original movies and documentaries
  • Access the service free by signing into your Facebook account

Facebook Watch review

Facebook connects millions of users around the world with a virtually limitless well of content. The social media titan’s very own video streaming service, Facebook Watch, rolled out in the US in 2017 and internationally in 2018. It’s available to any of Facebook’s 2.45 billion subscribers, and its daily traffic reaches up to 140 million users. Even though it falls short compared to YouTube’s numbers, Facebook Watch is on the rise, gaining eyeballs with both viral and original content. 

Is Facebook Watch free?

Facebook Watch is an ad-supported streaming service, meaning you can watch content for free if you’re willing to sit through an occasional advertisement or two. 

Facebook Watch
Compatible devicesiOS and Android mobile devices
Parental controlsCommentary shows, NFL Films Archive and every preseason, regular and postseason game
Upgrade optionsNo
Live sports streamingYes

Why Facebook Watch may be the right streaming service for you

Facebook Watch has a growing catalog of live streams, news, politics, gaming as well as original drama and comedy series. It operates much in the same way as YouTube — if you watch a video, you’ll be subjected to its supported ads. So technically the service is not free. 

User experience 

If you’re already on Facebook, you’ll feel right at home with Facebook Watch — the service is embedded in your Facebook account. To get started, navigate to Facebook Watch by logging into Facebook and selecting Watch which appears in the left-hand column of your desktop. On your mobile device, you can get access by clicking on the tube icon on the menu bar at the top of your screen. 

Instead of channels, shows on Facebook Watch are housed in their own pages where you can select episodes. 

Device compatibility 

Facebook Watch is currently available on

  • iOS devices
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android devices
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Oculus TV
  • Portal TV
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Xbox One

Facebook Watch features

Facebook Watch offers a toolbox of features that make it easy for you to connect with friends and share content. Just don’t expect to watch videos offline as there is no clear method to download content. Facebook Watch’s design and sorting capabilities are reminiscent of YouTube and Vimeo, allowing you to choose from top content to create your own watchlist. 

Set up a Watch Party

You can watch shows with your friends while communicating in real-time through chat. Anyone can set up a watch party by selecting the page of a specific group you’re part of and your desired content. Choose any type of video for a watch party, from Facebook originals to your personal home movies. 

Interact with a growing community 

Part of watching videos on Facebook Watch is how you engage with the content. Your likes and comments are part of the experience. Shows are housed within Facebook pages to stimulate communal engagement and discourse among fans. The viewing experience is intended to work socially and actively, according to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Simple to use

Facebook Watch’s interface displays a search box, a Shows tab consisting of a grid of original content and a Live tab including popular live streams. Underneath is Your Watchlist, where you can keep track of creators you follow and saved videos.

Find new shows

If you’re one of the many users with a longstanding Facebook account, finding shows you’re interested in won’t be a problem. Facebook’s algorithm recommends content based on your search history, location and other identifiable interests.

Upload Videos

Just like YouTube, you can add your own content. Anyone can upload to Facebook, but to be a Facebook Watch creator, your videos must align with various qualifications. Videos have a greater chance of streaming on Facebook Watch if they meet audience metrics, like a healthy fan base and a minimum watch time. Videos must also fulfill requirements like decent production value and appropriate content. 

What to watch on Facebook Watch

Since Facebook Watch hosts all forms of content from various producers and creators, much like YouTube, the number of videos available to viewers is constantly rising. Facebook Watch offers a variety of live content, including news, politics, sports and gaming-related programming. Like YouTube TV, Facebook’s streaming service also produces original documentaries, dramas, comedies and talk shows. 

Some of the most popular Facebook Watch shows include Bear Grylls: Face the Wild, where fans accompany adventurer Bear Grylls into inhospitable regions, Sorry for Your Loss, a drama that stars Elizabeth Olsen, and Red Table Talk, a popular talk show led by Jada Pinkett Smith and her family. 

The takeaway

Facebook Watch provides lots of videos in the form of shows and clickable, interactive content. If you’re the type of viewer who enjoys viral videos, popular personalities, series featuring industry-leading talent and videos from a diverse creator base, then Facebook Watch may be for you. If you’re more interested in movies or Netflix-style, binge-worthy series, then Facebook’s streaming service might not be the best choice. But, since the service is technically free, you can easily give it a whirl whenever the mood hits. 

Zack Kulm

Zack Kulm is a writer and contributor of soda.com. He covers a variety of topics from entertainment and gaming technologies to pop culture commentary. Kulm received a degree in English from Penn State University and Film Studies from Pittsburgh Filmmakers Institute. He also produces award-winning documentaries.