Facebook’s newest video making app sounds a lot like TikTok

You might recognise more than a couple of features from Collab.

by Jenna Mahale
28 May 2020, 10:47am

These days, TikTok may just be too powerful. With the added propellant of quarantine boredom, the app now has over one billion users globally, and has been downloaded over 165 million times in the US alone. In the last few months alone, it’s become obvious that TikTok has a powerful sway over popular music and rising influencers, as well as being able to dictate the memes du jour. So of course, Facebook, a tech company that is definitely too powerful, is going to try and steal its thunder.

Collab, fresh out of the social network’s experimental app division, is meant to be a new frontier in collaborative music making. On Collab, users can create short-form video content (Vine says hi) that must first be posted to their public feed, where any other user can pull it from and make it a part of their own video (this bit sound familiar, TikTokers?).

But there are a few key differences. In a statement on Facebook’s blog, Collabs are defined as “three independent videos that are playing in sync”, whereas TikToks have no such specific restrictions. “You can create your own arrangement by adding in your own recording or by swiping and discovering an arrangement to complete your composition.” No musical experience is required, so perhaps it’s time to crack out that guitar you bought in a charity shop three years ago and haven’t looked at since.

The app is in an invite-only beta stage for now, but Facebook are attempting to speed up the roll-out in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “With Collab, we’re leveraging technology to help people unlock creative superpowers by collaborating on original music videos from anywhere,” the statement continues. “In light of so many folks sheltered in place around the world, we’ve expedited this release.”

The (really quite nice) idea behind the release is to help users feel closer while the pandemic keeps us apart from each other. But I’m good with just watching 200 different versions of the Savage dance alone under my duvet.