Facebook’s Watch Party is Popular with Pirates

Facebook created Watch Party as a way for people to watch videos on Facebook together in real time. It was intended to turn watching videos into a social activity. According to Business Insider, Watch Party is popular with pirates, who use it to run illegal movie marathons.

The intended purpose of Watch Party was to allow Facebook users to host a video-watching party with friends. Everyone involved can watch the video simultaneously and comment or react in real time to what they are watching together. People could use Watch Time to watch funny videos together, or to watch a video of a family member’s graduation together.

Business Insider found that pirates are using Watch Party in a way does not appear to be legal. Instead of hosting content that they own, or that is legally free to view, they are watching copyrighted content like movies and TV shows.

We found that illicit watch parties were a frequent occurrence on the social network, broadcasting a range of media, from relatively recent hits like “Her” to cinematic classics like “Mean Girls” and vintage TV shows like the original “Twilight Zone”.

Business Insider noted that this type of copyright infringement has, in the past, been a solitary activity. Someone illegally downloads a movie and watches it by themselves. Watch Party enables pirates to gather together to watch an illegally downloaded movie.

Personally, I don’t think Facebook takes the time to really consider how a new feature could be used by nefarious people. They just launch something, assuming that everyone on Facebook will, of course, use the feature the way Facebook intended it to be used. This leaves Facebook scrambling to stop people from doing things like using Watch Party to watch pirated movies together.