Facebook Copies Snapchat, Brings Real-Time Filters to Facebook Live

facebook-fb-logoSocial media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) today announced that iPhone users can now apply Halloween-themed “masks” to live video broadcasts, very similar to those offered by competitor Snapchat.

The feature will soon roll out to Android devices as well. The company made the announcement via a blog post:

If you’re looking to share moments in real time with added flair, you will soon be able to go live on Facebook wearing a mask. We have a number of festive masks for Halloween, including a skull, an evil queen and two limited-edition masks: a pumpkin and a witch. A selection of masks will continue to be available after Halloween, so you can be creative in your Live videos any time!

Image: Facebook
Image: Facebook

The new selfie filters are dubbed Live Masks, and leverage the company’s acquisition of augmented reality app MSQRD earlier this year. Of course, the Masks bear a striking resemblance to Snapchat Lenses, which nearly offer identical features.

Facebook continues to copy Snapchat’s signature features as it plays catch-up with the upstart photo platform. Snapchat boasts strong global user growth and is the favorite social media service for young people. Meanwhile, Facebook lags considerably among teenagers, with a mere 13% identifying FB as their preferred platform.

Users can expect to see a plethora of additional masks roll out in coming months, with companies sponsoring many of them for a fee — just like Snapchat.

Snapchat is reportedly planning a massive IPO for next spring. Initial reports pegged the size of the offering at $25 billion, but that valuation could swell up to as much as $40 billion, according to some analysts. That IPO may well represent the first big threat to FB’s longstanding dominance of the social media landscape.

Facebook shares fell $0.42 (-0.32%) to $130.62 in Thursday morning trading. Year-to-date, FB has gained 25%, more than quadrupling the performance of the S&P 500 during the same period.