Riff rolling – Facebook’s new app aims to revolutionise viral video creation

2 Apr 2015

Facebook has revealed a stunning new app called Riff that lets users crowdsource video creation. The app will compete with Twitter’s Vine and Snapchat’s Stories apps.

Basically users shoot a 20 second video in Riff and create a title that encourages others to add to it.

Once friends receive the notification inviting them to add to it they can add their 20 seconds and so on.

According to Josh Miller, product manager at Facebook, the app was created after a group of Facebook employees stayed on after hours to work on a side project and was in-part encouraged by the ALS Ice Bucket challenge of 2014 which saw video sharing on Facebook blossom by 50pc.

The result is Riff, a new collaborative video app that could add a distinctive new layer to viral video creation.

The app is going live today in 15 countries around the world on the Android Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

“Anyone can start by creating a video,” Miller explained. “All you have to do is give it a topic, like #AprilFools, then your friends can view it and choose to add their own clips on that topic. Once a friend adds a clip to your video, your friend’s friends will also be shown the video in Riff and will be able to add to it.

“The potential pool of creative collaborators can grow exponentially from there, so a short video can become an inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the internet, at any time.”



The easy-to-use app gives users a 3-2-1 countdown and they can approve their clip before posting.

Only friends of the initial video’s creator can contribute to the expanding video and the original creator can moderate threads and delete clips they don’t want.

Offensive clips can be reported and Facebook users can report a video in its entirety if it includes offensive material.

Facebook may have something of a hit on its hands depending on how viral videos that emerge from Riff become.

However, the trick will be in the curation of videos by the original creators, so that a short video doesn’t become an epic bore.

But you have to trust the cloud and already videos from Twitter’s rival Vine have become something of an art form in themselves.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years