What happened: Social media giant Facebook has launched Lasso, a video app that allows users to shoot 15-second videos and overlay popular songs, taking direct aim at ByteDance’s short video platform TikTok. The app provides recommendations for videos, as well as the ability to tap through hashtags or browse themed collections. However, it is currently only available in the US on Android and iOS, unlike TikTok, which has a massive following in China through its Douyin brand (the Chinese version of TikTok), and in the West.
Why it’s important: It’s not surprising that Facebook is taking aim at ByteDance—the Chinese company’s short video app was downloaded more than Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in October, making up 42% of downloads in this cohort of apps. ByteDance took on the US market through its purchase of teen-focused short video app Musical.ly last year. It then merged its acquisition with its TikTok brand in August. For now, Facebook is targetting this segment of TikTok’s market, but it will undoubtedly extend its reach beyond the US in time. However, Lasso does lacks a few features that are popular in TikTok, including augmented reality effects and outlandish filters.