Facebook Watch is now available to everyone: Here's how it works

The new video tab is now available to everyone in the U.S.
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As if we needed more face time with our smartphones, Facebook Watch is now available to everyone in the U.S.

The new video platform – that's been described as a combination of YouTube, Twitter and traditional TV – first launched to a limited number of Facebook users last month. 

But now everyone who logs on will see the blue icon that looks like a little TV. If you're on a desktop computer, you'll see it on the lefthand side, right below Messenger.

If you're on a smart phone, it'll be the second icon from the left – it's at the top of the screen for Androids (shown below) and at the bottom for iPhones.

What is it, exactly?

The Facebook Watch tab brings you to part of the social media site that's dedicated to videos. Facebook explains the concept here

Shows are made up of live or recorded episodes and follow a theme or storyline. Much like YouTube, it allows professional content creators to create shows specifically for Facebook – 18 original shows launched alongside the creation of Watch.

There's a combination of mini-documentaries, reality shows, and sports coverage. Facebook also reached a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game per week. 

The Washington Post notes that right now, only certain people can make shows for Facebook after they go through an application process. In the future, it will be opened up so anyone can create shows.

The videos are grouped in various categories, such as "New This Week," "Popular Now," and "10 Minutes or More." There's also a section for shows your friends are watching, and one with suggestions personalized for you (one would assume this is based on other videos you watch or topics you like on Facebook).

If you find a series you really like, you can subscribe to upcoming episodes by adding it to your Watchlist. Variety made a list of the top-performing shows so far.

And while watching a show you can leave comments, likes, and other reactions, or even participate in a group that regularly watches the show together. 

Facebook says people’s comments and reactions "are often as much a part of the experience as the video itself." 

Music rights

Meanwhile, Facebook is also trying to figure out a way to deal with music rights.

If you've ever uploaded a video that had a song in it, it might've been deleted from the social network. That's because under current law, rights holders can ask Facebook to take down videos with infringing material, Bloomberg Technology says.

In hopes of finding a solution, Facebook is offering major record labels and music publishers hundreds of millions of dollars so the users of its social network can legally include songs in videos they upload, Bloomberg says.

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