Facebook adds new interactive camera, Stories to mainline app

Thanks to Facebook, you no longer have to use Snapchat to, well, use Snapchat.

On Tuesday, the Menlo Park-based social media giant announced its latest thinly veiled attempt to crush the young upstart: a new in-app camera experience within the mainline Facebook app that burrows many of Snapchat’s signature features, including geo-filters and interactive masks. If that weren’t enough, the company is also adding its very own version of Stories to its main app.

Facebook is rolling out these features to its billions of app users starting this week. Once users update to the latest version of Facebook, they’ll notice a new camera icon on the top-right of the app’s main screen. Tapping this icon launches the company’s new camera interface (it’s also accessible by swiping to the right of the News Feed). If you’ve ever used Snapchat, the experience of using Facebook’s new camera functionality will be intimately familiar.

A circular icon located at the bottom centre of the screen allows users to capture both pictures and video. Swiping down on this part of the interface also allows users to switch between a variety of filters, algorithmically pre-selected in this case. Several of the filters were designed by Canadian novelist turned pop artist Douglas Coupland, though the majority are marketing ties to upcoming Hollywood movies like Alien: Covenant.

Users can share the photos and videos they capture using the app’s new camera experience and assemble them into a collection using Facebook’s new Stories feature. This part of the new Facebook app works exactly like it does on Instagram. Stories appear at the top of the News Feed and only stay there for 24 hours.

Lastly, users can also send their pictures and videos directly to friends using ‘Direct’. Like Stories, these photographic and video messages disappear after a time.

Facebook’s new camera experience will be available on both iOS and Android starting this week.