Facebook Updates Video Features and Renames Watch Tab

Facebook has updated its video features in a bid to be more competitive with popular social video platforms TikTok and YouTube. Improvements from editing to discovery and the ability to upload videos in HDR roll out this week along with some new branding: the “Watch” tab has been renamed “Video,” unifying the streaming experience in one location. Editing tools for Reels are porting over to the main Feed channel, which means users can post and view short- and long-form video content as well as live videos in one place. The company is also making it easier to engage with recommended Instagram Reels directly on Facebook.

“The Video tab is now the go-to source for all videos on Facebook, including Reels, long-form video, and Live content,” the Meta Platforms company explained in an announcement, adding that it has simplified search. Other improvements include noise reduction, variable speeds for playback and the ability to reverse or replace a clip.

The rebrand from “Watch” tab to “Video” means “all visual content, from Reels to long-form content and live videos,” will be in one place, reports TechCrunch, noting “users will be able to scroll vertically to jump from one video to another, but there will also be a carousel with horizontal scrolling to go through different Reels.”

Recently, Meta has been doing more to cross-collateralize the strengths of its various social platforms. Now, even Instagram creators who don’t have an active Facebook profile can still reach that audience, with “the best of Instagram and Facebook Reels all in one place,” the company says, explaining that Facebook users can even “write comments on Instagram Reels that have been recommended” without needing to switch apps.

Meta emphasized that Facebook introduced short-form video posting in 2007 and continues to “invest heavily” in the medium. The Facebook Watch feature was launched in 2018 in response to YouTube.

Since that point, “it has gone through many transformations,” writes TechCrunch, noting that “in March, Facebook expanded Reels’ limit from 60 seconds to 90 seconds per clip.”

Some changes didn’t work. Facebook deprecated the Watch Party feature in 2021, and closed Facebook’s original content unit this year. In 2022, Facebook discontinued live game streaming and live shopping.

Mobile users will see the “Video” tab on the top bar for Android and on the bottom bar for iOS. TechCrunch reports the updates will first appear for Meta Business Suite users, adding that “while Facebook is encouraging discovery of long-form videos with these new features, it hasn’t made any new announcement when it comes to creator compensation.”

Facebook Pivots Back to Video with More Reels and HDR, The Verge, 7/17/23

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