Facebook’s full assault on Snapchat has begun.
On Friday, Facebook announced a completely revamped camera interface in its main app that can send goofy selfies to friends that disappear after 24 hours. The test, which Facebook simply calls “the new camera,” is first being made available in Ireland before rolling out to everyone.
Like Snapchat, Facebook’s new camera includes dozens of special effects including augmented reality selfie “masks” that look almost identical to Snapchat’s Lenses. A camera button at the top of the News Feed will open the new interface and swiping to the right of the News Feed will show photo and video direct messages with friends.
This particular camera redesign has been of personal interest to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to someone familiar with his thinking. He shared a new mantra that “the camera is the composer” during an all-hands meeting with Facebook employees this summer, the person said.
A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider on Friday that the new camera design was in response to two main trends the company observed: people are sharing more photos and videos than ever before and they want a way to share them with only close friends, not their entire friend demographic.
Facebook product chief Chris Cox said his team is “very invested” in making the camera “a creative tool” earlier this week at The Wall Street Journal’s tech conference.
“It’s an area of work we’re really invested in, which is making it easy for the camera to be an early application of AR,” he said.
Facebook started fading into Snapchat’s territory publicly went it bought the selfie filter app MSQRD earlier this year. Then Instagram introduced a clone of Snapchat’s Story functionality. Facebook is currently testing a similar feature in the Messenger app in parts of Europe and Australia.
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