Some Facebook users will now be able to create their own GIFs using the camera function in the social networking giant's app.
Facebook is testing a built-in GIF creator in its iOS app with some users. The website The Next Web was the first to spot the app update on Friday, noting that the function lets you create short, looping GIFs that last just a few seconds.
Users can access the feature in the app's camera mode, where they have the choice between a "normal" or "GIF" tab at the top of the screen. The GIF function will also offer access to Facebook's wide range of effects (such as augmented reality masks and animations) and filters that were already available in the normal camera function. The new function follows last month's full rollout of a GIF comment button on Facebook that allows users to search an online library of existing GIFs and post them directly in Facebook's comments sections.
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Facebook-owned Instagram already has the two-year-old Boomerang feature, which allows users to create short, looping videos. Earlier this year, rival Snapchat introduced its own Loop feature for creating looping videos up to 10 seconds long. That new feature from Snapchat was the rare example of parent Snap Inc.'s ephemeral messaging service rolling out a copy-cat of something already available from either Instagram or Facebook, rather than the other way around.
Either way, now Facebook has joined the build-your-own GIF party, but its new feature does have limits. Notably, The Verge points out that Facebook's new GIF creations are primarily for use within Facebook's own platform, as they are only available to share on users' Facebook pages—or in Facebook's Stories feature for sharing feeds of photos and videos—and they can only be saved as videos.