With seemingly little fanfare, Facebook has launched its new app Lasso, a standalone short-form video platform that's been billed as a competitor to TikTok. According to TechCrunch, the app is Facebook's attempt at winning over its dwindling demographic of teens.
Editor's note: Currently, Lasso is only available in the US. It is unclear when it will come to Australia.
"Lasso is a new standalone app for short-form, entertaining videos — from comedy to beauty to fitness and more," a Facebook spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement by email. "We're excited about the potential here, and we'll be gathering feedback from people and creators."
A source told TechCrunch last month ahead of its launch that the app was "basically TikTok/Musically," adding that it was "built for teens, fun and funny and focused on creation." A quick survey of the app on Friday turned up a relatively easy-to-navigate, full-screen platform with a Discover page not too unlike that of Facebook-owned Instagram. The app also features a feed for "Today's Top Creators."
Users can log in with either Facebook or Instagram, which the company said will help it tailor the in-app experience to users' interests over time. Lasso's creative tools include the ability to adjust speed or add music, and its catalogue includes millions of licensed songs. The app currently allows users to cross-post their videos to Stories on Facebook, and the company said it would soon allow users to share their Lasso videos to Instagram Stories as well.
It's worth noting that all profiles and videos on the platform are public.
As the Verge noted, Pew Research data published earlier this year showed that approximately half of teens ages 13 to 17 in the United States reported using Facebook, down from the 71 per cent that reported using the social media platform during Pew's 2014-2015 survey.
YouTube was the preferred platform of choice for teens, according to its recent data, with Instagram and Snapchat trailing behind.
It is curious that Facebook seemingly made little noise about Lasso prior to its launch. The company said it is "starting small" and plans to collect feedback from users and its creators.