Facebook launches video app for content creators that could challenge YouTube for talent

Facebook is investing heavily in video content , including original shows, live streaming and video messaging.
(Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty)

Facebook has launched a new video app called Creators aimed at building a community of closely followed producers like YouTubers, the company announced Thursday.

The app, which was announced in June, comes as the social network is investing heavily in original programming, live streaming and video messaging.

The company opened a new office in Playa Vista last year in part to strengthen its relationship with the entertainment industry and video creators who have flocked to YouTube.


Video — particularly the kind generated by social media stars — is seen as key to driving up engagement on Facebook, leading to more advertising revenue.

The Creators app gives video producers a centralized platform to post content, add video effects, keep tabs on metrics and read comments on Facebook and Instagram, and messages on Messenger.

The company is also launching a website called Facebook for Creators, which will coach users on refining their videos.

“To help creators grow on Facebook, it’s important that we continue building tools for them to be successful,” Fidji Simo, Facebook’s vice president of product, said in a blog post.

At a time when Facebook is under fire for enabling societal divisiveness, the company has touted video as an antidote — arguing that engaging with comments, likes and shares around video is more rewarding than merely watching as a bystander.

“As video grows, it’s important to remember that Facebook is about bringing people closer together and enabling meaningful social interactions; it’s not primarily about consuming content passively,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this month. “Research shows that interacting with friends and family on social media tends to be more meaningful and can be good for our well-being.”


That’s also important to Facebook’s bottom line as advertisers covet the content that has the greatest chance of going viral. And if Facebook succeeds in building a stable of video stars, it also gives users a reason to visit the platform more often.

There’s no guarantee that Facebook’s push for communities built around popular video producers will result in a more cohesive online environment.

Encroaching into YouTube’s territory will likely mean inviting the same problems faced by the Google-owned video giant. That includes more trolling in the comments and more hyperpartisan content of the sort Facebook is already accused of spreading.

Controversy aside, the Menlo Park company’s financial performance remains the envy of Silicon Valley. Facebook reported 49% growth in advertising revenue in the third quarter compared with a year earlier. And its share value has jumped more than 50% in the last year.

Follow me @dhpierson on Twitter