Facebook is testing more Snapchat-style features in its main app

(Image credit: Josh Constine/TechCrunch)

Photos and video clips that disappear after 24 hours; fancy filter overlays that add special effects or turn you and your friends into different characters; one-to-one messages rather than a public news feed... no, it's not Snapchat, it's Facebook's new camera feature.

Facebook is reportedly testing its new Snapchat-style camera features with a limited number of users before potentially rolling them out to the rest of us, reports TechCrunch, and it's an unashamedly direct copy of what Snapchat already does.

Facebook borrowing feature ideas from Snapchat is nothing new (Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg tried to buy Snapchat in 2013), but this update applies to the camera tool built right into the main Facebook app - it's designed to make sharing "fast, fun, and flexible" according to camera product manager Sachin Monga.

Snap to it

This is actually an adapted version of the feature Facebook tested during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. It sounds a lot more flexible and almost ready for the masses, and there are some arty Prisma-esque effects built into the camera too, apparently. It's accessed with a quick swipe from the News Feed.

After you've created a photo or video you can post it to the News Feed or send it directly to some of your contacts, who then have 24 hours to watch it. Each message can be viewed once before it disappears, though just like Snapchat there is a limited replay option.

Facebook bosses know they have a struggle on their hands to keep younger users interested - check your News Feed and see how many posts are by people under the age of 25 or so - and they've obviously decided that following Snapchat's lead is the way to go. There's no word on when these new features will reach everyone, if they ever do, but watch this space.

Header image: Josh Constine/TechCrunch

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.