Facebook's new Flash video app is latest attempt to copy Snapchat
- Facebook is testing Flash, a standalone ephemeral photo and video sharing app reminiscent of Snapchat, according to Recode. Flash is hardly Facebook's first attempt to emulate Snapchat, following failed projects like Poke and Slingshot.
- Flash features Snap-like selfie filters and virtual augmentations, with video and photo messages that disappear within a short time window. The app is testing in Brazil, with plans to roll out in other emerging markets, though those remained unnamed, per Recode.
- Flash was designed specifically for areas where Wi-Fi is hard to come by and connectivity poor, with the entire app less than 25 MB in size, around one third of Snapchat’s Android app on the Pixel phone.
Facebook has gone directly after Snapchat more than once, notably with Instagram Stories, which replicates the Snapchat experience down to the name. Facebook Live has also tested Snap-like selfie masks, and the company reportedly experimented with an ephemeral video messaging product for its main platform in late October.
Facebook failed to buy Snapchat for $3 billion back in 2013, and now that Snap Inc. is prepping a massive IPO potentially worth north of $25 billion, the social media site is making a great effort to try and edge the video messaging app out of its own market.
In that regard, Recode notes that Facebook is likely testing Flash in emerging areas like Brazil to try and secure a stronger foothold outside of the States. Since Snapchat has such a strong presence in North America, with 60 million daily active users, areas less familiar or compatible with the app might be the only ones where Facebook can score a significant enough audience for a standalone service to survive. Flash being built from the ground up to accommodate weak Wi-Fi connectivity and low memory storage might bolster this effort.
Facebook has previously addressed backend connectivity issues in emerging markets through its Slideshow ad format and the optimization of News Feed for connection speed.