Facebook Rolls Out New Features Just in Time for Rio Olympics

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August 4, 2016 9:43am Nasdaq:FB

facebook-fb-logoZacks: Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced several new features tailored to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. The move comes as fellow social media-rival Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) continues to make a push into becoming the go-to platform for live-streaming sports contests.


The first two features relate to a user’s profile picture. The first is called Profile Frames, which will allow users to show their enthusiasm for their country of choice by adding a frame of a flag around their profile picture. A user’s profile picture would have the country’s flag and the Rio 2016 logo below their photo. The comparison could easily be made to what Snapchat has in their photo filters.

The next feature actually requires a separate mobile app MSQRD, a face-swapping tool that Facebook acquired in March. Throughout the Olympics, if a user shares photos or live-broadcast video on the app, their flag of choice will appear on their face like a mask. These filters will be available starting Wednesday, August 3rd.

The final feature, and the most extensive one, is from August 1st to August 5th, Facebook will serve up an Olympics-related greeting in the News Feed of its users. The greeting with give users the option to click through to a page of “dynamic Olympic content”, which is personalized them by Facebook. The content will include conversations, live video, and more. The greetings will again be sent out during the Closing Ceremony August 21st.

Users’ reactions to the Olympic content from Facebook will be interesting, as previous attempts with sports features have struggled to gain traction. One of its most recent features, “Sports Stadium”, which was billed as a place for live sports chat, is difficult to find and has failed to generate the buzz Facebook hoped it would.

As mentioned earlier, Twitter has recently made a hard push to be, and for now is, the apparent leader in live, in-the-moment sports discussion. The company has been able to ink deals with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL to live-stream games and pre-/post-game content, and continues to look for other opportunities, such as professional gaming.

Facebook isn’t the only social media platform looking to up engagement levels from the Olympics either. NBC and Snapchat have partnered up to show live “stories” from Rio, and Twitter will have content from different events throughout the games as well. With the logistical issues and safety concerns of Rio, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the Olympics will generate as much interest as in years past. Some think that it could more so than in past years, simply because people are interested to see the rumored mess that is the area where the Olympics held, but only time will tell.

The Olympic opening ceremonies are scheduled for this Friday, August 5th.

Facebook shares rose $0.27 (+0.22%) to $122.78 in Thursday morning trading. FB has surged 17.25% year-to-date, nearly tripling the S&P 500’s 6.17% return in the same period.

FB-2016-08-04

This article is brought to you courtesy of Zacks Equity Research.


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