- Users of Facebook’s TikTok clone, Lasso, were told Wednesday that the app is shutting down July 10.
- The app was first launched in November 2018 in the US, and never picked up much speed or popularity.
- Lasso’s end comes as Facebook is starting to test in some countries a TikTok-like feature, called Reels, inside the Instagram app. Reels recently rolled out to France and Germany.
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Facebook’s first attempt at creating a rival to TikTok’s viral fame – an app called Lasso – is officially coming to and end.
Users of Lasso were informed Wednesday night that the app would be shutting down July 10, just less than two years since Facebook first launched it in the US in November 2018. Despite Lasso’s failure, Facebook already has a second TikTok clone in the works: A video feature on Instagram called Reels.
Reels, which is housed inside Instagram Stories as a format option, first rolled out to users in Brazil in November. An Instagram spokesperson recently told Business Insider that Reels has expanded to France and Germany.
While Facebook hasn’t explicitly stated it was eliminating Lasso to make way for Reels, it seems like the company has decided to throw all its short-video efforts behind a single project. Lasso never gained much traction in the US, where it had fewer than 600,000 downloads, according to Sensor Tower. Lasso did have a bigger following in the dozen Latin American countries it was in, where Sensor Tower says it generated more than 10 million installs.
"We place multiple bets across our family of apps to test and learn how people want to express themselves," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. "One of these tests was Lasso, our stand-alone short-form video app, which we have decided to shut down. We thank everyone who shared their creativity and feedback with us, which we'll look to incorporate in our other video experiences."
Facebook's decision to throw its effort behind Reels, a product branded with Instagram, could be strategic in attracting the platform's loyal userbase of more than 1 billion, much of whom are millenials and Generation Z who shirk and distrust the Facebook name.
Facebook is notorious for copying other platform's popular formats and features and bringing them to its own apps. Facebook has a long history of systematically cloning Snapchat's features - including Stories, which have been a rousing success on Instagram.
As for those who say Reels draws a lot of similarities to TikTok's format and purpose, Instagram told Business Insider it only was "tak[ing] inspiration" from TikTok in the short-form video sector.
"No two services are the same and this responsiveness to consumer demand is competition at work and one of the longtime hallmarks of the tech sector," an Instagram spokesperson told Business Insider. "It increases choice, which is good for people."