Facebook To Create Camera App, New Video Features

Hoping to get users to put out more original content, Facebook is reportedly developing a standalone camera app.

Likely modeled after Snapchat and other popular picture services, the would-be app has a serious live-streaming angle, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

A Facebook representative declined to address the report, on Monday, but such an app would fit nicely into the company’s current strategy.

Quite simply, Facebook needs people to share more personal posts, and its betting on live-video and continued app diversification to do so.

Facebook users are posting a ton of content, but mostly news stories and viral videos rather than personal fare. The latter is critical to the social giant’s health because it engenders far higher engagement levels and strengthens bonds among users. 

That’s why a recent report, which found that original sharing of personal stories dropped 21%, last year, is so troubling for Facebook. Overall, recent findings from GlobalWebIndex found that users are sharing less content than ever.

In response, Facebook has been eager to re-position itself as a live-video platform. Indeed, it only began testing live video-streaming late last year, but is now planning to prominently place a live video tab right in its Messenger app.

The company is also rolling out a number of new video-based features, including Video for Groups and Events, with which users can more easily share live video with particular friends and family.

These features are critical because, as Facebook sees it, the size of users’ social networks is largely responsible for the steep decline in personal sharing. In other words, peoples’ networks have become so big that they no longer feel comfortable sharing personal information.

Live video isn’t Facebook’s only solution to its sharing problem. Among other efforts, it just bought Masquerade, a simple mobile app that allows for playful augmentations to selfies and video content.

Some of its more popular tricks include mashing selfies with those of various celebrities, and face swapping -- which is when one face is swapped for another.

Late last year, Facebook began testing a feature that automatically identifies users’ “friends” in freshly taken photos -- before they’ve been uploaded to the social network -- and then encourages users to share those snaps.  

Looking ahead, Facebook is also investing energy and resources into virtual reality, which executives believe will fundamentally change the way people connect and share experiences.

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