Social media and connected technology often gets a bad rap but during this unprecedented time of isolation; it is helping to deliver a feeling of normalcy as millions of people can easily stay in contact with loved ones; work from home and entertain themselves via the Internet. Just imagine how much heavier the feeling of solitude would have felt just 20 years ago.
Instagram on Tuesday launched a new feature designed to promote social distancing during this unprecedented time that we find ourselves in.
Dubbed Co-Watching; the new functionality allows users to view Instagram posts with friends over video chat. Simply fire up a video chat by tapping the associated icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread then view liked; saved and suggested photos / videos simultaneously with your friends by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner of the chat.
The Facebook-owned social media platform has also added a “Stay Home” sticker. Accounts that utilize the sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story; aggregating them into one place so users can see how others are practicing social distancing.
Facebook was among the first major tech giants to act against the coronavirus.
In mid-February, the company said it would be skipping the Game Developers Conference; and less than a week later, canceled its own F8 developer conference. Earlier this month, Facebook said it would be giving employees a $1,000 bonus to help deal with the financial stress of the pandemic; and was investing $100 million to help small businesses.
Facebook is also one of several streaming service providers that agreed to reduce the quality of video content in the EU; in order to reduce stress on communications networks.