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Facebook adds 360-degree videos with a little help from Oculus

Facebook has introduced new, 360-degree interactive videos on the News Feed, thanks to an assist from the company’s Oculus division.

The new video clips, available initially on Android and the web, will enable viewers to drag a finger or cursor around the screen in order to view from every conceivable angle.

Mobile users will also be able hold up their phone and move around in order to experience the immersive new content.

Facebook has signed up a host of partners including Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, Saturday Night Light and Vide.

Disney and Lucasfilm have kicked things off with an exclusive 360-degree experience from The Force Awakens.

Related: Oculus Rift preview

In a post on its Newsroom blog, Facebook’s video engineering director Maher Saba wrote: “In the future, imagine watching 360 videos of a friend’s vacation to a small village in France or a festival in Brazil — you’ll be able to look around and experience it as if you were there. Along with updates from your friends and family, you will also be able to discover amazing new content on Facebook from media companies, organizations, and individual creators.

“There’s also a whole world of video creators and storytellers who are at the cutting edge of exploring this medium, and over the coming days they too will be able to upload their 360 videos to Facebook. We’re excited to see more innovative and compelling 360 videos being shared from these publishers.”

The clips are rolling out from today and should be appearing on iOS devices in the coming months.