Yes, Facebook’s taking on TikTok with Instagram Reels, it’s looking into newsletters following Twitter’s recent acquisition of Revue, and it’s also considering a challenge to Clubhouse and the rise of audio social with its own, replicant feature.
The Social Network is ‘taking inspiration’ on many competitive fronts, and that approach doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.
This week, Facebook’s NPE or ‘New Product Experimentation’ team appears to have launched a new, live test of its coming ‘Super’ app, which is its challenger for Cameo, the app through which you can pay for celebrity shout-outs within video chats.
As you can see here, the Super website, spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, provides a listing of coming live stream events, which you can sign-up to attend.
Tap through on any event and you’re taken to a dedicated event screen, with a countdown to the start time.
You can sign-in to register (though, interestingly, signing in via Facebook is not an option at this stage), which also enables you to flag your interest in limited one-on-one sessions with the guest.
As you can see here, the one-on-one chat option is free for this test event, but celebrities will also be able to charge for each, providing another means to generate revenue through the tool.
The platform also includes a listing of past Super events, which you can also view.
Right now, these are just basic, short examples of video interviews, hosted on YouTube, so it seems like this is mostly a demo site for how the system will work. But eventually, the idea will be that Super facilitates high-profile interviews and interactions, while also providing celebrity video messages, along similar lines to the Cameo approach.
Bloomberg first reported that Facebook was working on Super back in December, noting that Super will enable creators, entrepreneurs or celebrities to host live, interactive video events.
“Viewers can tip creators by buying them digital gifts, or pay to “appear” alongside a creator during the live-stream to ask a question or take a selfie, according to a person familiar with the new feature, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the product hasn’t been announced publicly. Creators will also be able to sell merchandise or other products alongside the live-stream.”
That’s exactly what this example shows – while of particular interest here is that at least one of these Super events has also been promoted directly on Facebook, which expands on the reach capacity of the tool.
As you can see here, this link, shared by @GadgetsBoy, connects Facebook’s audience back to the Super app. Tap on the ‘View Event’ CTA and you’re then asked to log in to Super for more info.
That covers one of the key potential flaws we noted in the original overview of the app – with Facebook’s NPE team creating a separate app, as opposed to building the platform within Facebook/Instagram, that could eliminate Facebook’s scale advantage, which could give it a significant leg-up over Cameo, and make it a more competitive option. This in-Facebook notification prompt covers off on that – which won’t be welcome news for the Cameo team.
Cameo has seen steady growth over the past few years – according to TechCrunch, Cameo is now fulfilling more than 2,000 video requests, on average, every day. The app recently announced plans to launch a new capital funding round in order to build a range of new features.
As reported by The Information:
“The four-year-old startup, last valued at $300 million, plans to introduce new money-making features such as subscriptions and in-app video chat.”
Video chat, you say? Like paying for a one-on-one session with a celebrity?
It’s still early in Super’s development, so we don’t have a full scale of the app’s potential functionality. But the features displayed in this new test, along with the integration with Facebook/Instagram will no doubt be a concern for Cameo and its growth plans.
We’ll keep you updated on any progress.
New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat’s Coming ‘Family Center’ Will Work
Snapchat’s parental control options look close to launch, with new screenshots based on back-end code showing how Snap’s coming ‘Family Center’ will look in the app.
As you can see in these images, shared by app intelligence company Watchful (via TechCrunch), the Family Center will enable parents to see who their child is engaging with in the app, along with who they’ve added, who they’re following, etc.
That could provide a new level of assurance for parents – though it could also be problematic for Snap, which has become a key resource for more private, intimate connection, with its anti-public posting ethos, and disappearing messages, helping to cement its place as an alternative to other social apps.
That’s really how Snap has embedded its niche. While other apps are about broadcasting your life to the wider world, Snap is about connecting with a small group of friends, where you can share your more private, secret thoughts, without concern of them living on forever, and coming back to bite you at a later stage.
That also, of course, means that more questionable, dangerous communications are happening in the app. Various reports have investigated how Snap is used for sending lewd messages, and arranging hook-ups, while drug dealers reportedly now use Snap to organize meet-ups and sales.
Which, of course, is why parents will be keen to get more insight into such, but I can’t imagine Snap users will be so welcoming of an intrusive tool in this respect.
But if parents know that it exists, they may have to, and that could be problematic for Snap. Teen users will need to accept their parents’ invitation to enable Family Center monitoring, but you can see how this could become an issue for many younger users in the app.
Still, the protective benefits may well be worth it, with random hook-ups and other engagements posing significant risks. And with kids as young as 13 able to create a Snapchat account, there are many vulnerable youngsters engaging in the app.
But it could reduce Snap’s appeal, as more parents become aware of the tool.
Snapchat hasn’t provided any further insight into the new Family Center, or when it will be released, but it looks close to launch based on these images.
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