Yesterday’s release of Facebook Camera and Stories marked the platform’s largest attempt at ripping off competitor Snapchat. In short, Facebook has essentially added a complete Snapchat clone onto its existing mobile platform. Here are the details of the new features:
This in-app camera allows you to add effects like masks, frames, and interactive filters to your photos and videos. The Facebook Camera can be accessed by tapping on the camera icon in the top left corner of the Facebook app or by swiping right on the News Feed app page.
These camera effects are almost identical to the ones on Snapchat, except for a couple of discrepancies. First off, the Facebook Camera takes Snapchat’s World Lenses a step further. With Facebook reactive effects, you can use filters on dynamic objects around you (like falling snow). Secondly, Facebook users will soon be able to easily create their own frames and effects to use with the camera, going a step beyond Snapchat’s user-generated geofilters.
This feature is exactly what we’ve seen originally on Snapchat and copied on Instagram. With Facebook Stories, you can share images and videos captured with the Facebook Camera for 24 hours, after which they will disappear. Stories are visible in a new Stories bar above the News Feed. For better preservation of your best selfies, you also have the option of adding your stories onto your Timeline . The Direct tool lets you share an image or video with select friends, and this content will self-erase after it is viewed by the recipient.
The End of Snapchat?
So is there anything that still makes Snapchat unique? Not really. The absence of AR filters on Instagram Stories was a major reason why many people continued to use Snapchat. However, now that the Facebook Camera has fully integrated this popular feature, users will likely switch over to Facebook for all their “puppy face” filter needs.
Snapchat does have its wearable hardware, Spectacles. However, I doubt that the glasses will be enough to trump the power of Facebook’s discoverability. Here’s hoping the pioneering company finds a new way to differentiate itself in the ever-monotonous social media landscape.