Facebook introduces video app Riff

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the F8 summit in San Francisco.
(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook users are already used to seeing more videos filling their news feeds. Now the social media tech giant is doubling down on the medium by introducing a video app called Riff.

An answer of sorts to Vine and Snapchat, the app allows users to make videos 20 seconds or shorter and post them on Facebook with hashtags. That’s supposed to encourage friends to join in and attach their own videos to the end, to tell longer stories.

“Once a friend adds a clip to your video, your friend’s friends will also be shown the video in Riff and will be able to add to it,” Josh Miller, product manager for Facebook, wrote in a blog post. “The potential pool of creative collaborators can grow exponentially from there, so a short video can become an inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the internet, at any time.”


After posting on Facebook, all contributors to a video will be tagged. The person who originated the video can choose to delete clips along the thread.

Riff bolsters Facebook’s desire to oust YouTube as a destination for social videos, a medium that continues to command more advertising dollars.

Since introducing autoplay video in 2013 (those clips that start automatically with the sound off when you scroll past them), video views have grown significantly on Facebook, even drawing criticism for driving up data usage on mobile devices.

Video accounts for about 30% of the content shown on Facebook news feeds, according to Socialbakers.

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