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Facebook Messenger Update Targets Augmented Reality Features in Snapchat

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Continuing its unrelenting (and mostly successful) campaign against Snapchat, on Tuesday, Facebook announced the addition of “World Effects” to its Messenger app.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the name and general execution mirror Snapchat’s popular “World Lens” feature. Like World Lens, World Effects gives Facebook Messenger users the ability to place augmented reality objects in video messages.

The company demonstrated the effect by placing a 3D heart over a dog’s head. Even as the dog moved into a sitting position, the virtual heart remained pinned in the correct position over its head, illustrating the possibilities of the new feature.

Image via Facebook

“We hope you enjoy using these early versions of World Effects in Messenger to bring joy and delight to your communications, especially during this holiday time of year,” a message on Facebook’s website states, indicating that this is a feature that will likely receive further updates in coming months.

Along with the heart, Facebook is also rolling out other World Effects objects including a unicorn, a robot, and an arrow, as well as word bubbles including “love,” “miss you,” “bae,” and “heart.” To enable World Effects, users can open the Messenger Camera and choose the feature from the camera effects swipe menu.

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