Instagram is launching “Co-Watching” for browsing remotely with friends
Quarantines, curfews, and other extreme measures being taken in order to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. I’m sure many of you are sitting at home right now, in fact, because of the ongoing pandemic. But this is the age of social media, and staying home and practicing social distancing does not necessarily mean that you will be cut off from your friends, family, and acquaintances. You can still be connected to the world essentially anywhere through your smartphone. To keep you informed and entertained during this quarantine, Instagram has announced a number of new features.
Some of these include a crackdown on COVID-19-related accounts and posts, removing them from recommendations unless they’re posted by the World Health Organization (WHO) or other UN-sanctioned sources or health organizations. These are mostly made in keeping with a pledge made by Facebook and other tech companies last week to fight coronavirus misinformation on the Internet. But one of the most noticeable new features is “Co-Watching”, a new feature to keep you and your friends entertained together.
The premise is simple: You fire up a video chat with some friends and, by tapping the photo icon on the bottom left corner of the video chat, you can share some photos and videos you’ve previously liked or view suggested ones so you can watch them together with your friends. This is meant to replace the experience of scrolling through Instagram with friends while you and your friends are staying home.
Other measures adopted by Instagram include the introduction of educational resources to parts of the UI, supporting donations in more countries, a “Stay Home” sticker for stories, and an option to check out stories with that sticker in your feed so you can see how others are practicing social distancing. This and more measures should make your self-quarantine time a little less monotonous.