Facebook Launches New App Lasso in Attempt to Appeal to Teen Market

Image Credit: Tech Crunch

If you’re anything like me this new craze of lip-syncing to your favorite songs and getting famous off of it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But there’s no denying the fact that its become remarkably popular amongst the youth of today. And where there’s attention, there’s money to be made.

Facebook’s aware that their demographic has dramatically changed in the last decade. When Facebook launched in 2004 it was designed specifically for college students. As they expanded to accepting anyone, younger kids flocked to the platform and from there we all remember the days our parents started asking how it worked, and for some of us even the day grandma signed up.

Facebook isn’t really a platform many kids are using these days though. Only 50% of teens say they care to use it anymore, most would rather be using Facebooks other app Instagram. But Instagram’s demographic is changing dramatically as well; In fact 40 to 60 year olds are Instagrams largest growing demographic at the moment. Cougar selfies.

So Zuck’s got to look to the next trend and that’s where Lasso comes in. But one has to ask the question of if they are too late to jump in on this lip-syncing trend? Especially when you consider the brands of Musical.ly and TikTok and their established userbases. Lets consider this as I introduce you to Lasso.

Lasso

Image Credit: Facebook

Lasso was first reported as being in development in late October and Facebook have been a little unusual in their method of rollout wherein they’ve opted not to make much noise about the apps launch. In fact the first real mention that it had been released was Facebook’s product manager announcing the apps availability in a Tweet:

The app isn’t that dissimilar to TikTok, in fact it comes across as a clone of an existing product. The only difference is that Lasso allows users to post Vine-like 15 second short clips to their profiles. This could be a potential selling point as there’s a clear push for a Vine-like platform in the market. Vine nostalgia is a real thing, despite the launch of V2 earlier this year which hasn’t picked up a ton of momentum (in my opinion this is due to bad marketing on the founders part).

However without having something to differentiate themselves significantly from the competition, one had to wonder what makes this app so enticing that kids are going to jump ship from TikTok?

The only other draw card I can see is the integration between Lasso and Facebook and Instagram stories. This has the potential to draw many new users onto their platform, but as of now (launch day) only Facebook stories integrates with Lasso, with plans of adding support for Instagram stories in the near future.

Another thing Facebook has going for them though is the resources needed to police a platform of largely underage users. One of the biggest problems that plagued Musical.ly was inappropriate content of minors being uploaded and the long list of legal issues that stem from such a problem. Facebook has established algorithms for automatically detecting and removing inappropriate content, as well as deep pockets to employ people to dedicate towards keeping the platform safe for kids.

As of now Lasso is only available in the US, so for people like me who aren’t stateside you’re going to have to wait a little longer before being able to try out the app. My guess is that the silent release and the lack availability internationally indicate that they’re looking to further build out the app and take user feedback before fully releasing.

Freelance writer / front-end web developer.

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