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Facebook Overhauls Celebrity-Targeted App for Video Creators, Trying to Catch Up to YouTube

Facebook is taking another step to build a more attractive home for digital video creators — and to take on internet-video heavyweight YouTube — with the rollout of an app designed for people whose full-time job is creating internet content.

The social giant also has launched a new section of its website, Facebook Creators (at facebook.com/creators), to provide support, tips, tutorials and profiles of creators.

Actually, the Facebook Creators app is a revamped and expanded version of Facebook Mentions — the dedicated app for celebrities and other public figures it first launched in 2014. The Mentions app also was the first place Facebook introduced the ability to broadcast live-streaming video.

A Facebook rep called the Creators app “an evolution” of Mentions, adding that the company has added several new features after learning a lot about the best ways to share content and what tools creators need to be successful.

Once again, Facebook trails YouTube in this area. The Google-owned video platform introduced the YouTube Studio app in 2014, designed to manage channels on the go. The app lets creators check stats, respond to comments, upload custom video thumbnail images, schedule videos, and get notifications.

And, while Facebook has revenue-sharing agreements with some content partners and creators, it’s far from the ecosystem that YouTube has created — even with its faults — that enables video creators to make money.

Facebook previously announced plans to intro the app at VidCon in June. The company calls the Facebook Creator app a “one-stop-shop” for creating original videos, broadcasting live with exclusive features, connecting with fans, and accessing metrics.

“We’ve gathered feedback from creators as we’ve built these resources, and will continue to take cues from the community as we try to make the Facebook experience fun and easy for creators — so they can do what they do best,” Facebook VP of product Fidji Simo wrote in a post.

The Facebook Creator app is available starting Thursday worldwide for Apple iOS, with an Android version coming in a few months. The app is open to individuals on Facebook Pages or profiles; in addition, creators making shows for Facebook’s Watch video section also can log into the app as their Show Page to access the features.

Key features of the Facebook Creator app include:

  • Camera & Stories: Provides access to camera effects and frames and allows users to crosspost content to other platforms, as well as access to Facebook Stories.
  • Live Creative Kit: Tools for Facebook Live broadcasts that lets creators add intros and outros, custom live stickers that viewers can use to interact, and graphic frames.
  • Community Tab: Provides a unified inbox for collaborators and fans, centralizing comments from Facebook and Instagram, and messages from Messenger.
  • Insights: Access to metrics including analytics about a creator’s Page, videos and fans.

Simo, in her post, said she met last week with three of Facebook’s top creators – Jody Steel (3.1 million followers) Markian (1.3 million), and Jay Mendoza (274,000).

“While they have very diverse needs and goals, they all shared how important it is for them to have tools to nurture their community,” she said.

For example, using Facebook Groups, Markian created the “#SmileSquad,” where his top fans connect with him and with each other through positive messages. Jody Steel has an audience of art enthusiasts for her show on Watch called “Body Art,” and Jay Mendoza produces comedic skits which were initially shared by his mom and cousins to his Hispanic community.

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