It looks like Facebook is set to follow YouTube’s lead in offering users the ability to download select videos and watch them later. In an email sent to page administrators for select media partners Facebook said it will start testing offline videos with a “small group of people” from July 11.
“Starting July 11, 2016, we’ll be rolling out the option for a small group of people to download videos to their Facebook app while they’re online with good Internet connections, so they can then watch the video at any time, offline or online,” the email states. It adds that the test will be conducted in India, one of the markets where connectivity is a real issue, and publishers will have the ability to opt out of the trial.
“Publishers can opt out at the Page level, meaning that any video uploaded by that Page will not be available to download. Go to the Settings tab in your Page, [and] select Prohibit downloading to Facebook in the Content Distribution row,” the email explains.
Facebook also assures publishers that the downloaded videos will be stored in the Facebook app alone and it will not be available to share or view in other applications.
YouTube has certain restrictions on offline viewing – for example, videos can be played offline only for up to 48 hours. After that, you’ll need to reconnect your device to the Internet so the app can check that the video is still available. It’s not clear at this point if Facebook will implement similar restrictions to its offline videos feature.