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Facebook is launching new Watch and Blood Donation features

Alyssa Clementi

Facebook Watch, which lets users explore and interact with video content related to their interests, will be launching new features, according to a blog post from the social media site. Watch was created less than a year ago, but already attracts more than 720m people monthly and 140m people daily, with visitors spending an average of 26 minutes or longer on the feature daily.

“Watch isn’t just a place to find videos and shows you love — it’s a place where you can explore and engage with other people who love them, too. These connections let people experience content in a whole new way, and we are focused on making Watch even more social,” said the blog post.

Most recently, Facebook launched a feature that allows users to easily access any groups related to the Watch video they’re viewing. Once a video appears, the most relevant Facebook group will pop-up alongside the content, so viewers can engage and talk to other fans or creators of the content. Facebook is currently testing new sections within Watch, such as suggested videos based on what’s popular with friends, and a feature specifically for Watch Parties, Premiers, and Live videos.

“We know that people like watching videos together with friends: we’ve found that people are eight times more likely to comment on videos in Watch Party than when watching on their own,” wrote Facebook.

The post also reiterated the importance of running a “sustainable, ad-supported ecosystem”, since most publishers and creators rely on ad breaks for profit. Right now, ad breaks are available in over 40 countries, with Canada being added this week. Facebook also said that it will be adding support for five more languages, including Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Swedish and Telugu.

“Along with global expansion, the number of Pages actively using ad breaks has more than tripled over the past year — and the number of Pages earning over $1,000 in payouts per month has increased by more than eight times, while the number of Pages earning over $10,000 in payouts per month has increased by more than three times,” said Facebook.

In addition to all of the new features coming to Watch and ad breaks, Facebook will be investing a substantial amount of funds into global partnerships, Facebook Watch Originals, and creator and digital publisher collaborations.

Starting today, Facebook also made it easier for users to sign up to be a blood donor and receive notifications when a blood donation center in their area is in need of supply. Facebook users can go to the ‘Blood Donations’ option in their ‘About Me’ section on their profile, and register. Once a user is confirmed, they will receive notifications from partners such as America’s Blood Centers, the American Red Cross, Inova, New York Blood Center, Rock River Valley Blood Center, Stanford Blood Center, Versiti, and Vitalant.

“Through our partnership with Facebook, individuals will be able to conveniently find and connect with their local blood center to help meet the ongoing need for a diverse pool of blood donors in the US and share their experiences and the importance of blood donation,” said Kate Fry, chief executive officer at America’s Blood Centers. “By encouraging blood donation as a way of life, each of us can assure that the more than 30,000 pints of blood used daily throughout the country is available.”

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