Instagram Unveils New ‘Co-Watching’ Feature To Promote Social Distancing

By 03/24/2020
Instagram Unveils New ‘Co-Watching’ Feature To Promote Social Distancing

Instagram wants to help its user community perfect the art of social distancing.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing app has announced a number of updates to keep users safe and entertained.

This includes a new Co-Watching feature, which enables friends to browse Instagram together within a native video chat. Video chats are initiated by tapping an icon in the direct messaging tab, or the same icon in an already-existing chat thread. Then, users can view saved, liked, or suggested posts by tapping a photo icon that appears in the bottom left-hand corners of their ongoing video chats.

A screencap (above) provided by Instagram showcases at least six users participating in a Co-Watching session concurrently.

In a company blog post, Instagram outlined a number of other efforts that it has undertaken to combat misinformation surrounding the pandemic, including: more educational resources in ‘Instagram Search’; ‘Stickers’ that promote accurate information about the virus; removing content and accounts about the virus from recommendations, except credible health organizations; a rollout of the ‘Donation’ sticker to more countries; and a new ‘Stay Home’ sticker to help users browse Stories of those who are practicing social distancing.

“To prevent people from exploiting this public health emergency, we’ve already put several new policies into effect,” the company added. “We prohibited misleading ads for products that refer to COVID-19 in ways intended to create urgency, guarantee cures, or prevent people from contracting it, and we have temporarily banned advertisements and branded content that promote certain medical supplies, including face masks.”