Facebook is copying Snapchat’s geofilters by letting people make their own camera ‘frames’

Facebook camera frames
Facebook expects its users to make camera frames for events like weddings, a concept made popular by Snapchat. Facebook

Facebook is taking yet another page out of Snapchat’s playbook by letting people create their own location-based camera filters.

Starting Thursday, Facebook users in select countries will be able to make custom camera “frames” that others can overlay over photos and add to their profile pictures. The frames will also be available in Facebook’s Snapchat-like camera messaging interface that’s currently being tested in Ireland.

Facebook’s camera frames work almost identically to Snapchat’s geofilters, a competing app that Facebook has already begun to clone aspects of in Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

The new feature is also part of a broader effort by Facebook to encourage more visual communication through photos and videos, an idea that Snapchat pioneered with its camera-centric design.

Through a new web tool on Facebook’s website, people in Colombia, Mexico, Taiwan, the U.K., and Ireland will be able to upload frames they have designed for things like events, neighbourhoods, and landmarks.

Frames can be seen by everyone near an area if they are tied to a certain Facebook page with a location, like a restaurant or small business. If someone who doesn’t own a Facebook page creates a frame, only their friends will see it in the Facebook app when they’re near its associated location.

Facebook employees will review each submitted frame to make sure it’s not offensive or illegal, according to a company spokesperson. Snapchat employees also review submitted geofilters to make sure they follow company guidelines.

Facebook frequently tests new features in smaller markets before making them available in bigger countries like the United States. Camera frames could eventually become a way for Facebook to make money if the company chooses to start charging for them like Snapchat has done.

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