Social Media

Facebook Messenger built a new in-app camera for Snapchat-style selfies

Kurt Wagner
Source: Facebook Messenger

Facebook is stealing a page from Snapchat. Again.

On Thursday, Facebook Messenger rolled out a new in-app camera that includes features like facial masks, photo filters and stickers — the same kinds of photo features popularized by Snapchat.

Facebook already had an in-app camera for Messenger, but it didn't offer all the fun frills and editing features this new camera has.

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The update is part of a broader effort by Facebook to get people sharing more photos and videos with one another on the app. A month ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would be experimenting more with "visual messaging tools."

"In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share," Zuckerberg explained on the company's Q3 earnings call in early November. "Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share."

Facebook is making good on that experimentation promise. In the last two months alone, Facebook started testing another Snapchat-style camera in its core Facebook app, built a separate Snapchat clone to ship in developing countries and brought live video broadcasting to Instagram. (Tack today's Messenger news onto this list, too.)

You may have noticed a theme here: Facebook continues to be hell-bent on stomping Snapchat, which is the company's greatest outside threat when it comes to capturing the attention of young mobile users.

Snapchat was the first to popularize facial masks that turn users into dogs or goblins or whatever else the company thinks up. It's easy to see people like using them, and now Facebook hopes they'll use them inside Messenger instead.

The updated camera will roll out worldwide Thursday as part of a free app update.

By Kurt Wagner,

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