Facebook clearly has no problem copying Snapchat.
Starting Friday, people in Canada and Brazil will see something different when they open the Facebook app: a prompt to open their phone’s camera and take a selfie. They will be able to add Olympics-themed face filters and post them directly to their profile.
Snapchat, of course, already works this way.
Facebook is being surprisingly candid about the fact that, by encouraging people to use their cameras and post selfies, it’s following in Snapchat’s footsteps.
“I think they have [Snapchat] done a really good job of building a modern composer,” Facebook product manager Sachin Monga told TechCrunch
. “The thing that’s created the change from text to visual sharing is that everyone has a phone and a camera in their pocket, but they have definitely done a really good job with it.”
Facebook didn’t say if it plans to make the new camera prompt, which it’s calling “CameraFeed,” available outside of Canada and Brazil. A spokesperson described the test as “experimental.” Android and iPhone users of the Facebook app will have the feature in Canada starting Friday along with iPhone users in Brazil.
The update is the first time Facebook has incorporated selfie filters from MSQRD, a Belarus startup it bought in March for an undisclosed sum.
Facebook has a long history of copying Snapchat, which it tried to buy for
around $3 billion in 2013. Poke and Slingshot were both failed apps Facebook tried to position as more ephemeral, Snapchat-like messaging platforms. Instagram’s new Stories feature is the company’s most blatant Snapchat clone to date.
We asked Snapchat what it thinks of this latest Facebook update, but a company spokeswoman declined to comment.