According to Instagram’s announcement, the new feature allows you to browse your Instagram account (feed, liked photos, etc.) together with your friends over video chat, giving users a new way to communicate and stay connected.

The feature comes alongside several other COVID-19 updates, including a new “Stay Home” sticker and a wider rollout of Instagram’s donation sticker

Here’s everything you need to know about Co-Watching on Instagram: 

What is Co-Watching on Instagram?

Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency in January, Instagram has taken a number of steps to help keep people informed, safe, and supported — and Co-Watching is part of this effort.

The new feature allows friends on a video chat or group video chat to browse through Instagram and share content with the group while still connected.

While Co-Watching was being tested as early as April 2019, according to a Business Insider article, the current state of affairs (aka near-global quarantine) spurred Instagram to get the feature out to users quickly.

“We decided to make it available soon so we could offer more ways for people to come together right now,” an Instagram spokesperson said.

Video-chatting has blown up in recent weeks, with companies like Zoom, Skype, and Hangouts all seeing massive growth due to COVID-19.

It will be interesting to see if Co-Watching has a similar effect on Instagram’s group video chat feature, which was first announced two years ago at the 2018 F8 Conference. 

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How to Use the Instagram Co-Watching Feature

  • Start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread.
  • Once you’re video chatting, tap the photo icon in the bottom left corner. 
  • And that’s it! You can now browse your saved, liked, and suggested photos and videos with your friends. 
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