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Facebook shuts down TikTok rival Lasso

Hannah Boland
·2-min read
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg - Drew Angerer /Getty
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg - Drew Angerer /Getty

Facebook is shutting down its rival version of TikTok less than two years after its launch, as it doubles down on Instagram efforts to take on the Chinese video app. 

Lasso, which had been available to users in the US and central American countries, had been released as a separate app and was seen as the company's bid to draw in a younger audience.

It worked in a similar way to TikTok, allowing users to record short 15-second videos and overlay them with music. At the time of its launch in late 2018, Facebook had said it was "excited about the potential here". 

However, the company has now said the app will be closed down from next week.

A spokesman for Facebook said: “We place multiple bets across our family of apps to test and learn how people want to express themselves. One of these tests was Lasso, our stand-alone short-form video app, which we have decided to shut down and remove from all app stores on July 10.

"We thank everyone who shared their creativity and feedback with us, which we'll look to incorporate in our other video experiences.”

The latest move has prompted speculation that Facebook is planning to expand a recently-developed video-music feature on Instagram, called Reels, into more regions. 

Last month, users in France and Germany were given access to Reels following trials in Brazil. Reels also lets users record 15-second clips and set them to music, with those clips able to go viral through a "Top Reels" section on Instagram, showing the best-performing posts.

Ofcom figures on social media sites
Ofcom figures on social media sites

Instagram has, historically, had a younger user base than Facebook's other apps, giving it a better chance than those apps of being able to take on TikTok, which is popular among teens.

Last month, figures from Ofcom suggested that TikTok was the most downloaded app among children late last year. Its use among the under 18s was up 500pc over the year, Ofcom had said.

During the lockdown, with many trapped in their houses, it has also attracted vast numbers of adult users, with Ofcom suggesting almost 13 million were using TikTok in April, compared to 5.4 million in January.