Facebook now has plans to launch a new application called 'Lasso' that will compete directly with the creativity and music platform TikTok, according to recent reports citing unnamed sources close to the project. The project is said to be headed up by Facebook's lead product designer Brady Voss and will have its own application that's almost identical in functionality to the latter company's. However, the company also wants to simplify things and focus on lip-syncing and other creative performances by users rather than focusing on some of the other features TikTok brings to the table.
Background: ByteDance-owned TikTok was already a very popular service with teenagers and others in the younger demographic range prior to the acquisition of one of its lead rivals, Musically, earlier this year. That deal saw both services rolled into one under the TikTok branding and the launch of several additions such as new filters, face masking, and AR-based features. Musically was more directly focused on sharing videos or live streams of users singing along with or lipsyncing to a wide diversity of music options than the features added after it was absorbed. The songs could also be sped up or slowed down and, beyond music, there were an array of other sounds and phrases a user could choose from. So Facebook's Lasso may actually be much closer to that service and application than to the newest versions of TikTok.
In fact, the social media giant seems to have already gotten started with one of its latest features, called Lip Sync Live, which was rolled out back in June. The feature is effectively a Musically-style application that's built directly into Facebook itself. That implementation was proceeded by a deal signed between Facebook and Sony in January which allows Facebook users to post music from Sony's vast collection of licenses to the site without those posts being taken down. The company has a long history of borrowing features from its social networking rivals and its actions leading up to this latest rumor seem to indicate that this was already beginning to be planned in advance of that deal.
Impact: For the time being, there isn't much more to go on and no timeline has been provided for an eventual launch. Bearing that in mind, Facebook has been successful in the past with regard to pulling ideas from other popular services and either incorporating them or creating new standalone experiences based on them. If the speculation bears out, it's also possible the company won't choose to completely rebrand the service. Since all of the features leaked so far are very similar to those found with Lip Sync Live, those may just get moved to their own dedicated Android application and keep the already associated branding. Facebook also released standalone versions of web-based features for mobile before, as it did with its Messenger chat service, so that wouldn't be any more surprising than a brand new application called Lasso.