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This Is Facebook’s Biggest Shot at Snapchat Yet

2 minute read

Move over, Snapchat.

Facebook is launching a new camera interface for its iPhone and Android app that allows users add effects like masks, frames, and filters without having to leave the app, the company said on Tuesday. The announcement comes after Facebook debuted the feature in its Messenger app in December, and it begins rolling out today.

The new Facebook camera will include different types of effects, including some that users will be able to interact with, like falling snow, and others that add Picasso-like filters to photos and videos. The company will also offer branded masks that are themed to specific movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, and Alien: Covenant.

The masks are similar to Snapchat’s Lenses, which overlay graphical effects that range from adding adorable animal ears to a person’s head to bizarrely warping their facial features. In addition to adding new masks over time, Facebook will also allow users to create their own effects that can be used only on photos and videos taken with the app’s camera.


Stories, another Snapchat-esque feature that Facebook launched for Instagram last August, is also coming to the company’s main app. As is the case with Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories will live at the top of the main feed and disappear after 24 hours. Facebook is also launching the option to send temporary videos and photos to other friends directly as well through a feature called Direct, which lets recipients view the content once, replay it, and send a reply. After the chat thread related to the photo or video ends, the content is erased.

The launch is the latest attempt by Facebook to emphasize the camera as the primary input took for creating social media posts, a concept Snapchat made popular that has driven Snap Inc.’s $24 billion valuation.



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