Facebook’s latest experiment is an attempt to make live TV events more social

Facebook’s New Product Experimentation team has rolled out a new app called Venue, which aims to provide an interactive second-screen experience for live events. To be absolutely clear, the app wasn’t designed to livestream the events it features. Instead, it will serve as home for “venues” hosted by expert commentators, such as journalists, current or former athletes and analysts, which fans can enter while an event is ongoing.

Since the app was created so that fans can split their attention between the event and their phones, hosts can ping guests whenever something important or memorable is happening. They can do so by creating and posting “Moments” in their venues in the form of commentaries, interactive questions, polls and short chats. In a way, it’s like following live tweets by an expert. “With Venue, fans can stop scrolling or searching to find the exact moment everyone is reacting to,” the NPE team explained.

In an apparent attempt to make it easier for viewers to focus on one screen at a time, they’ll receive notifications via the app when there’s a new digital event for them to interact with. Facebook is calling these “Moments” and says they’ll happen whenever the Venue host thinks something especially memorable or interesting is happening during the event.

Sunday’s NASCAR race will be hosted by nascarcasm, and Facebook says that commentary on future NASCAR races will be provided by hosts, including NASCAR driver Landon Cassill and Fox Sports reporter Alan Cavanna.

This is the third new app to have been released by Facebook’s NPE team this week. On Wednesday, the R&D group launched Collab, a TikTok-inspired app designed to help with music collaboration. There’s also Catchup, a voice calling app designed to coordinate group calls.

Venue is available now on iOS and Android.

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