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Facebook’s launches Riff video app with focus on collaboration

Facebook has launched a new video application for iOS and Android, encouraging users to add to video clips shared by their friends.

The Riff app, which is free to download, allows users to log into Facebook and record a 20 second (or less) clip offering instructions for friends on the theme.

The video will show up in the Riff feed of others and allow them to immediately add to the clip with their own interpretation.

So, for example, an initial Riff asking users to post clips of, say ‘downing a beer’ could create a cavalcade of chugging with several collaborators doing it in interesting ways.

When posting a video to Riff everyone can see the clip (and some will be posted to the homepage), but only users’ Facebook friends can respond to it. Once mates have gotten involved, all of their friends will be able to collaborate, and so on.

With this intended snowball effect, Facebook hopes the Riffs will go viral organically as they spread through the community.

Recording can only be performed in-app, so there’s no opportunity to upload previously-recorded clips. Videos also have to be shot in a single take following a 3-2-1 countdown as there are no editing tools.

However, original creators will be able to remove clips they don’t want to see within the video. There’s also no liking or commenting. The only way to interact with the video is for users to add their own clip.

Read more: Facebook accused of breaking EU privacy rules… again

Project Manager at Facebook’s Creative Labs John Miller told TechCrunch: “We hope there may be some learnings about video — how people want to share, what kinds of video experiences make it easy to share, how people choose to use video to engage with others,  if they want more tools, etc.  

“Mostly, this was an experimental side project for the team that turned out to be really fun.”

Of course, it would be remiss to talk about this app without mentioning the existing Snapchat ‘Our Stories’ feature, which has proved popular with the app’s millions of users.

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