Facebook Shares Snapchat Attack Plan, Including a New Camera

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's plans to build cameras right into its apps, much like Snapchat.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg discussed Facebook's experiments to develop a new camera for its apps after reporting earnings. The camera will be close to the heart of the experiences inside Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook's rival Snapchat keeps the camera central inside its app, too -- it's the first screen that opens when a person clicks in.

On Facebook, the camera would be a swipe away and have many of the same features Snapchat has, including augmented reality filters for people to put on top of their selfies.

"It will start to roll out broadly across the world, hopefully sooner rather than later," Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Facebook's new camera-focused strategy was first reported by The Verge back in August, but the company discussed the plans in its quarterly update to Wall Street.

Facebook has been making a number of moves in reaction to Snapchat, including introducing a copycat Stories feature into Instagram. Stories are video montages that live at the top of the Instagram feed.

Instagram Stories rolled out last quarter, and already have 100 million daily users, according to Facebook. Snapchat has 150 million daily users.

Facebook is taking cues from Snapchat because the younger challenger appears to have figured out a winning formula that encourages people, especially young people, to share photos and videos obsessively. Facebook said such sharing is still growing on its platform, but the threat from Snapchat is clear.

Still, Facebook did reveal another big quarter, and it generated nearly $7 billion in ad sales, and 84% was from mobile devices. Advertising revenue rose 59% year over year.

Facebook CFO Dave Wehner also reported success in Facebook's effort launched last quarter to beat ad-blocking software. Mr. Wehner claimed that the desktop ad revenue growth rate doubled to 18% thanks to beating ad blockers.

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