New Snapchat-like Facebook filters really know their audience

23 Nov 2016

Woman taking selfie. Image: Yulia Mayorova/Shutterstock

Having announced a clear competitor to Snapchat, Facebook has begun rolling out its filters in Ireland, available directly through the mobile app.

Despite having over 1bn users across the globe, Facebook is not about to let itself fall to the wayside in the face of stiff competition.

Easily its biggest competitor these days – among those in their teens or 20s – is Snapchat, with the social networking and messaging tool having over 100m active daily users.

What makes it stand out from the somewhat more formal news feed found with Facebook or Twitter, is Snapchat’s filters that can turn a regular selfie into a bizarre hybrid creature, using its photo recognition tools.

But now, following speculation mounting since last April, Facebook has decided to target Snapchat directly with a new filter option for smartphone cameras.

Having revealed the filters officially earlier this month at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Ireland is now the first country to receive the feature on mobile, which might look very familiar to regular users of Snapchat.




Hyper localised

Amid the more familiar cat overlays and animal features that generate over the person’s face, the most interesting addition (from an Irish perspective) are the text overlays that are very much specified by location.

Some of the hyper localised phrases included are “Story horse?”, “Some craic”, “Gimme dat” and the most Irish of all: “Ah grand”.

When you are not sending images to your friends using the new filters, there is also another inbox for replies you have received.

Just like Snapchat’s Stories feature, these replies will accumulate in a feed and disappear after a designated amount of time.

Limitations in these early stages are apparent, as users within have found the app to contain a few bugs, noting it crashing when trying to take a photo.

Facebook will now be waiting eagerly to see the general public’s response to the roll-out, but only time will tell if Facebook can win back teenagers, who have described the older social network as ‘meaningless’.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic