The social media giant plans to shut down Lasso, a TikTok clone launched in Nov. 2018 that lets users create and share 15-second videos with music soundtracks. And it’s also shuttering Hobbi, an app launched in February that lets users create photo collections related to their hobbies and interests, and as such took aim at Pinterest.
Neither Facebook app gained much of a following. Google said Lasso has seen five million-plus Play Store downloads over its lifetime, and TechCrunch, citing app data provider Sensor Tower, said that Hobbi has only seen 7,000 downloads on the U.S. App Store.
Lasso and Hobbi are far from the first experimental Facebook apps to be shuttered. Other Facebook apps to get axed over the years include:
- Slingshot and Poke, a pair of ephemeral messaging apps that were meant to compete against Snapchat.
- Moments, an app for privately sharing photos and videos with friends.
- Home, a custom Android user interface that was tightly integrated with Facebook’s services.
- Paper, a news reader app/Flipboard clone.
- Rooms, an app for creating discussion rooms in which users can anonymously talk about subjects of interest.
- Hello, a caller ID app that relied on a caller’s Facebook profile info.
- Moves, an app that was obtained through an acquisition and tracked a user’s fitness activity.
- Tbh, a polling app that let users anonymously compliment each other.
It’s worth noting that in a few cases, Facebook ultimately rolled out features within one of its main apps that had some things in common with features within a shuttered, experimental app. For example, though Slingshot and Poke are gone, Facebook did add ephemeral messaging support to its Instagram Direct messaging service, and more broadly added Snapchat-like features such as stickers and augmented reality effects to the camera features within its apps.
Likewise, though Lasso is going away, Facebook is in the process of rolling out a feature for creating and sharing TikTok-like videos through the Instagram app. Known as Reels, the feature lets users record 15-second videos with music/audio soundtracks that can be shared via Instagram Stories, private messages or a “Top Reels” section within Instagram’s Explore tab. It launched in Brazil last November, and was recently launched in Germany and France.
Given its meteoric growth, TikTok is undoubtedly likely to remain on the minds of Facebook execs in the coming months, whether or not Lasso happens to be around.
TikTok’s parent company, China’s ByteDance, now claims more than 1 billion monthly active users globally. And in June, The Information reported that TikTok aims to generate $500 million in revenue from the U.S. alone, after having generated just $200 million to $300 million globally last year.