Facebook Messenger Takes A Page From Snapchat

Aiming straight at Snapchat, Facebook just unveiled a new camera feature in Messenger -- complete with “art” and special effects for users to spice up their pictures.

Set for a global rollout in the coming days, the fresh offering reflects the changing tastes of consumers, according to Peter Martinazzi, a Messenger product manager at Facebook. “We’ve seen that the way people are messaging is becoming much more visual,” Martinazzi notes in a new blog post. “In some ways the camera is now replacing the keyboard.”

Every day, in fact, Messenger users now send more than 2.5 billion emojis, photos, stickers and videos, according to internal figures.

To encourage more sharing, the new camera also makes it easier for users to capture and share moments.

As such, users can soon expect to see a shutter button right in the center in their screens. One tap takes a photo, while a long press records a video.

Facebook is also introducing a place to find new art and special effects, including some very Snapchat-like 3D masks.

To assemble its offering of stickers, frames, masks and effects, Facebook reportedly enlisted the help of artists and influencers around the world.

Of course, this is only the latest attempt by Facebook to steal some of Snapchat’s popularity among younger users.

Already this month, the social giant began giving select users the power to make photo frames for profile pictures. Featured on a new Camera Effects Web site, the service currently requires that frames be approved by Facebook.

In October, meanwhile, Facebook unveiled “masks,” which look very much like Snapchat’s animated lenses.

Facebook’s filtering ambitions don’t stop there, however. It recently partnered with Prisma, the Russian app that lets users “filter” social media in the style of artistic schools like Expressionism and Cubism.

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