Facebook has quietly released an app called Lasso, which lets users create funny short videos designed to compete with TikTok, the viral 15-second video app recently merged with Musical.ly. Lasso is Facebook's latest bid to win over teenagers, as the big social media platform has lost its hold. By 2018, only half of teenagers say that they still use Facebook, compared to 2014, where 71 percent of them said they did. The app was first reported as being developed by the end of October.
At Lasso, users can record dance and lip sync to music, as they already can do on TikTok. The app also allows users to record short clips like Vines. It is available on iOS and Android. Facebook told verge: "Lasso is a new standalone app for short-lived, entertaining videos – from comedy to beauty to fitness and more. We are excited about the potential here and we gather feedback from people and creators."
You can log in to Lasso via Instagram or create an account using Facebook. You must approve the app to grant access to your profile page, photos and videos. Then you are free to scroll through tons of short videos that automatically play when you pass them. Hashtags appear prominently at the bottom, and like other social media platforms, you can also filter content with tags. So far, you have the opportunity to share Lasso videos as Facebook stories, with the function of sharing them as Instagram stories that come later. You also can not make your profile private.
When I logged in, I saw a guy in a dress making a jumpstroke for "Psycho" by Post Malone. In another video, two women danced to "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran. Finally, six men in an impressive athletic screen performed a woman who makes an upward split to "I like it" by Cardi B before she performs an impressive flip.
There is already a wealth of content on Lasso, similar to what was already on Facebook Watch during its first launch, suggesting that Facebook has probably opened the app up to a community of beta users before today. Still, like Facebook Watch, Lasso can be a couple of years late. Bytedance's TikTok, known as Douyin in China, has been around since 2016.
Facebook has been strangely quiet about Lasso's launch, without official statement on its website. It was only on Twitter that Facebook product manager Andy Huang announced the release of the app, and later Bowen Pan, the product manager for Lasso specifically, tweeted about it.