Facebook may launch a standalone camera app to encourage way too much livestreaming


Facebook is on a live streaming tear these days, and a report indicates it could go even deeper into photo and video with a new standalone app.

The social network is developing a camera app, according to the Wall Street Journal - not to be confused with the already-existent Instagram. A prototype reportedly lets users go directly to their camera, then share their snap on Facebook-run properties.

Another rumored feature would let users who are recording a video with the app flip it into a live stream. With most Facebook Live video coming from media outlets, brands and celebrities these days, letting regular users begin a stream with the press of a button while they're already in the process of recording could prompt more people to give it a go.

In fact, it could lead to a deluge of live streams, which may be annoying to friends and family yet good news for Mark Zuckerberg and Co.

Photo finish

As the Journal speculates, the camera app is a sign Facebook is feeling the heat of declining original user content.

We've reported in recent weeks about this problem and Facebook's plans to staunch it, including potentially letting users receive tips for posts.

A Facebook spokesperson sent me this statement in regards to original content sharing on the network: "People continue to share a ton on Facebook; the overall level of sharing has remained not only strong, but similar to levels in prior years."

As for the camera app, Facebook won't comment on rumor or speculation, I was told.

Sharing may be strong on Facebook, but it's the kind of content being shared where the waters are still muddy.

Data gathered by GlobalWebIndex indicates people are turning to social networks less and less to upload photos and videos they take themselves. According to GlobalWebIndex figures cited by the WSJ, 37% of Facebook users polled said they uploaded or shared their own photos in the first quarter of 2016, down from 46% the year prior.

People in the know say the new app is meant to encourage users to actually produce photos and videos, rather than passively sit back and like them. It will also apparently attempt to inspire users to be creative, meaning we could be in for filters, face swaps and other non-traditional forms of creative expression.

The app may never make it to users' phones, the report notes, but it seems Facebook is hard at work, wiping sweat off its brow as it cooks up potential ways to get us creating and sharing again. We'll just have to wait and see what it decides to serve up.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.