Facebook may be following in the footsteps of one of its competitors as it today introduced a new camera which will give users more options to share and enhance photos and videos. It will be rolling out the new feature on iOS and Android over the coming weeks, according to the social media platform.
Much like its competitor Snapchat, the Facebook camera will offer a variety of filters, masks, frames, animations and other interactive elements to visually decorate images and video. The new functionality will allow users to integrate dynamic objects "like falling snow" and the ability for video and photos to exist for a limited time.
The Facebook camera will be accessed in-app by tapping a camera icon on the top left corner or by swiping right from the news feed.
Snapchat, which Facebook at one time had tried to buy, is a wildly popular video platform with a young demographic. It's parent company Snap, Inc. last month publicly filed for an IPO with a valuation pegged at somewhere between $20-$25 billion. According to Statista, Snapchat had 301 monthly users at the end of 2016.
Facebook, the world's largest social media platform, by comparison has more than 1.86 billion monthly active users as of Dec. 31, 2016. It's been steadily adding its own video features, including Facebook Live, its live video streaming service which launched last year and where many of the new features will be used.
Among other new features are movie masks which is seemingly a branded collaboration with Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Sony, Universal/Illumination and Warner Brothers and will be promoting new feature films, including Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman.
Facebook said users can "expect talent to be utilizing them through the film premiere dates," which will likely mean film stars using these new features to promote their films.
The platform is also introducing Facebook Stories, which lets users combine multiple photos and videos as part of a collection which then can be posted atop the news feed. Instagram, which Facebook also owns, offers a similar feature.
Another Snapchat-like enhancement is called Direct which allows users to share film or video with friends for a limited time.
The platform has also recruited visual artists including Douglas Coupland and Hattie Stewart to create visual effects.