Facebook imitates Snapchat again with new camera filters and Stories

Oh snap! Facebook took aim at Snapchat again on Tuesday by releasing camera filters and an ephemeral sharing feature that mirror what its rival offers.

“We want to make it fast, fun and easy for people to share creative photos and videos with whomever they choose, for however long they choose — and the more we share with each other, the more open and connected our community can be,” Connor Hayes, a product manager at Facebook, said in a blog post.

The Menlo Park tech firm has been continually rolling out new Snapchat-like features on Instagram, WhatsApp and its Messenger app.

Now Facebook is bringing them to its main app, intensifying the competition between the two social media companies. The new features could also help Facebook get more people to spend a longer time on the social network, making the site even more attractive to advertisers.

Starting this week, Facebook users will be able to add masks, frames and filters to their photos and videos, allowing them to morph into Wonder Woman, a Power Ranger and other characters. And they can also directly share these goofy images to their friends and family.

The tech firm will also be introducing a feature called Stories that lets users share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours and will be displayed at the top of the News Feed. Snapchat also has a feature called Stories, which the company released in 2013.

Instagram rolled out a Stories feature last year, and it has more than 150 million users.

Snap, which made its public debut this month on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, saw its shares drop by about 5 percent to $22.58 per share after Facebook announced the new features Tuesday.

“FB’s Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp have already incorporated similar features/functionality, and we see this roll-out by Facebook as increasing competitive pressure on Snapchat/SNAP,” wrote Scott Kessler, deputy head of equity research at CFRA Research in a note on Tuesday.

Kessler maintained a “hold” rating on Snap’s stock, which is a recommendation to neither buy nor sell more company shares.

And while imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has strayed away from addressing Facebook’s duplication of the app’s features.

His fiancee Miranda Kerr, though, hasn’t been as tight-lipped.

“Can they not be innovative? Do they have to steal all of my partner’s ideas? I’m so appalled by that. … When you directly copy someone, that’s not innovation,” Kerr said in an interview with The Times.

Photo: Screen shots of new camera effects on Facebook. (Courtesy Facebook)


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