Facebook is building a new camera app

The latest app will attempt to reverse a decline in personal sharing of images and videos, according to reports

Facebook keeps bringing out camera apps. Photograph: Ingvar Bjork/Alamy
Facebook keeps bringing out camera apps. Photograph: Ingvar Bjork/Alamy

Facebook is reportedly building a standalone camera app, which is its fourth such attempt.

The app will make it easy for users to jump between still photography, video recording and live video streaming, all presented through a Snapchat-style camera-first view, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Although it only in the early stages of development and may not even see launch, the app is intended to combat a decline in personal image and video sharing on the site, as well as prompt greater uptake of the company’s Live Video feature.

It follows three previous attempts by Facebook to make standalone camera apps. Two of them, Poke and Slingshot, were broadly based on Snapchat, while the third, simply called Camera, was an attempt by Facebook to steal Instagram’s thunder.

In the end, Facebook bought Instagram for $1bn (£686m), just a month before Camera was launched in May 2012, and the app was quietly shut down.

Later in the year, Facebook made a similar attempt to undercut Snapchat, then a plucky rival best known as a “sexting app”. Facebook released Poke, a fairly transparent clone of Snapchat’s key feature of ephemeral picture messaging, andMark Zuckerberg boasted about having developed it in just 12 days.

Poke failed. A year later, the company made a bid for Snapchat, reportedly making a $3bn offer to buy the company. But the bid was rebuffed, and so a second clone arrived in 2014: Slingshot. It offered a few features to distinguish itself from Snapchat, principally the ability to demand that the recipient reply with an image of their own, but it too failed to catch the imagination of users.

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