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Facebook's Camera Effects Platform: A Snapchat Copycat?

( [email protected] ) Dec 09, 2016 11:09 AM EST
Facebook gets on with the photo frame frenzy and releases a new feature where users can customize their own photos with frames, captions and drawings.
Facebook now lets users customize their own photos. The Verge.

Facebook gets on with the photo frame frenzy and releases a new feature where users can customize their own photos with frames, captions and drawings. This is a big upgrade from a profile photo frame customization feature launched back in 2015. Now, designs are quirkier, more hip and with more varieties.

Imagine Snapchat's infamous geo-filters colliding into the biggest social networking site. This is how it exactly works with Facebook's new feature, dubbed the "Camera Effects Platform."

Available frames range from sports teams, causes, businesses to events. The majority of frames though, is on popular U.S. sports such as NFL, NHL and college sports. Apart from these plug-and-play frames, users are also free to design their own frames.

Facebook's innovation is one of its many experiments, including the inclusion of Instant Games where users can now use Messenger when playing online games with friends. Another additional feature is the option to change the default News Feed page when opening Facebook's mobile app.

These new features are not yet available in all countries. For one, Instant Games is currently available in only 30 countries including the US, and has under 20 games on the platform to date. The option to change the default page is also limited to some countries.

Just like its predecessors, the quirky Snapchat-like photo frame feature is now only available in Colombia, Ireland, Mexico, Taiwan, and the UK. The US is said to be next in line. This is ironic given that majority of available frames is on U.S. sports.

A guide on how to customize photos can be found on Facebook's support page, and here is an overview for profile photos:

For customizing profile photo

1. Go to the profile picture frame feature

2. Click the menu on the right-hand side of the profile photo

3. Select the profile photo that wants to be customized, then click "Use as Profile Photo." This then loads the new customized photo.  

Once new photo is uploaded on one's profile, it will still be subject to Facebook's terms and conditions as any other photo and post uploaded on the site. Any photo that's found offensive, discriminatory or harassing will be put down, and Facebook may choose to temporarily deactivate a user's account.

When the Camera Effects Platform support page is accessed on a browser where the country isn't supported yet, the help page will only show: "This feature isn't available to everyone yet."

Other users find this new feature 'silly', saying that it's another Snapchat copycat. It is said that to date, Facebook has been copying 13 of Snapchat's unique features including Snapchat Stories.