Facebook has announced augmented reality realtime overlays to Live videos. The feature is called Masks, and is similar to Snapchat Lenses. The immediate roll out is for iOS users in US, UK and New Zealand. However, over the course of a few months, the feature will be making it to Android devices on more countries. Public figures using Facebook Mentions will also have access to the Masks feature, so fans can see their favorite celebrities using Masks in their Lives.
The Masks feature is launched just in time for Halloween, and there are a few limited edition Masks that will be available only for a short time. The limited edition masks are a pumpkin and a witch. The skull, evil queen and other masks will be available for use in Facebook Lives even after Halloween is over. Other options include a clown, a panda, and a flower in your hair Mask.
Once a user goes live, a magic wand icon appears on the top right of the screen. Tapping on it opens up a creative tools tray which includes filters, drawing and now, Masks. The masks can be scrolled through, and switched in realtime. Tapping on the close icon on the top right of the screen stops the creative tools overlay. The first Mask, at the very right of the Mask list, is a no Mask option.
Facebook is also introducing a limited edition reactions bar just for Haloween. This replacement will occour in only some countries. The Like button shows an animated skeletal hand. The Love reaction shows the heart being chomped by mysterious invisible teeth. The laughter reaction shows a laughing witch. The wow button is a floating ghost. Frankenstein sheds a tear instead of the sad animated emoji. Finally, there is an angry pumpkin with red glowing eyes. Check out the animations.
The announcements are the latest in a series of steps Facebook has taken to openly imitate Snapchat features. Facebook is obsessed with owning a Snapchat like app. Facebook has been testing an photo uploader for iOS with Snapchat styled filters. In Brazil and Canada, Facebook had been testing a Snapchat style homescreen on its Facebook App. Most of the home screen is taken up by the view from the selfie camera, with an option for applying realtime filters similar to Snapchat Lenses.
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