Facebook might become more like Snapchat (with a camera)

ICYMI — but how could you have? — Facebook is full of new features lately, like the seven little emojis you can use to react to people’s posts. Instead of just liking a post, you can “love” it or click on a sad-faced emoji if that’s what you’re feeling instead. Facebook’s also done other things to get us to try to engage, like reminding us about the NFL draft, in case that inspires a status update, and reminding us of a photo we posted a year (or few) ago, in case we want to share it once again.

The latest in the Facebook world is a camera app that’s apparently in the works, to create photos and videos. A team in London is making the prototype — and it could be Snapchat-esque. Live-streaming and sharing to Instagram may be other perks of the future Facebook camera app for the 1.6 billion Facebook users out there.

Like you already know, Snapchat users create 1-to-10-second videos (aka snaps) that disappear once the intended people view them. Perhaps because of Snapchat’s popularity, Facebook wants to get in on camera-and-video action, too. As of May, 2015, Snapchat has 100 million daily active users. That’s a lot of snappin’ goin’ on.

Even though everyone seems to be glued to Facebook and checking (and rechecking and rechecking) it 24/7 (at least it seems like it), liking this post and loving that one, when it comes to users’ own timelines, they’re not as active, research found — i.e., they’re not posting status updates or sharing pictures or videos as much as they once did. GlobalWebIndex found that, in the first quarter of 2016, 33 percent of Facebook users updated their profile status in the month prior and 37 percent shared or uploaded their pics. A year before, however, more users did each—44 percent updated their status in the month prior and 46 percent shared or uploaded pictures.

And, according to The Information, “original” sharing on Facebook is down — as of mid-2015, “original broadcast sharing” decreased by 21 percent year over year. It sounds shocking, but apparently not-sharing-enough-original-content struggle is real, and adding a camera app could be the secret to what makes users more active when it comes to sharing status updates, pics, and videos from their lives.

Facebook has tried to gets users into photo- and video-sharing in the past, like in 2014 with Slingshot. (Anyone remember that short-lived experiment?) With it, users could add captions or drawings to photos or videos and then send it to friends… but the friends couldn’t view the “shot” unless they sent one to the sender, too. Once they were viewed, the content would disappear. Suffice it to say, it did not last.

But, even though the new Facebook camera app sounds like a cool idea, sources say it may not happen. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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