Facebook is "borrowing" more features and tricks from Snapchat and is currently testing a new cameras with face filters and ephemeral photo messages.
This new Snapchat camera clone is as blatant as it is unsurprising - Facebook has been trying to replicate Snapchat's success for a good while now and it's been gradually "borrowing" its rival's features, implementing them one by one to see what sticks.
The latest attempt is a completely redesigned camera interface in the main Facebook app, allowing users to take selfies with goofy face filters and send them privately to friends. These photo messages will vanish in 24 hours. Facebook simply refers to this feature as "the new camera" and it's now in testing in Ireland before rolling out to a wider audience.
Facebook's new camera offers a wide range of special effects, including augmented reality selfie "masks" that bear an uncanny resemblance to Snapchat's Lenses. It's worth pointing out here that Facebook's new AR selfie masks are different from the recently-launched Facebook Halloween masks.
Facebook users will be able to access the new camera interface via the camera button that will appear at the top of the News Feed, while swiping right from the News Feed will allow them to privately share photos and videos through the Facebook Direct inbox of ephemeral messages. The Facebook Direct inbox will not require a separate app such as Messenger to handle messages.
On Friday, a Facebook spokesperson explained to Business Insider that the new camera aims to cater to two main trends that Facebook observed: users are sharing more photos and videos than ever, and they want an option to share them with only a few friends rather than their whole Facebook friends list.
"We want to make visual sharing on Facebook fast, fun, and flexible" the new camera's product manager, Sachin Monga, further tells TechCrunch.
Previous Facebook trips into Snapchat territory include the company's acquisition of selfie filter app Masquerade earlier this year, the Snapchat Stories clone called Instagram Stories (Instagram is owned by Facebook), the ephemeral messaging app test called Messenger Day, the Snapchat-like creative tools that rolled out to Facebook's WhatsApp, and more.
It remains to be seen whether Facebook will manage to replicate Snapchat's success with at least one of its attempts, but it sure does seem keen on making it work.
As previously mentioned, the new camera with Snapchat-like face filters and disappearing direct messages is currently in testing only in Ireland, but if it proves popular enough, we should soon see a wider rollout in more countries. As always, well keep you up to date as soon as we get more details.