Facebook takes on Vine and Snapchat with new Riff app

What if you combined the viral nature of Vine with the mini-story capability of Snapchat? That’s what Facebook is trying to do with Riff, a new app that’s available today on the App Store or Google Play.


Created by Facebook’s Creative Labs (the same group behind PaperGroupsRooms, etc.), Riff lets you create a 20-second video, post it, and have your friends add to it with short videos of their own. The idea is the same snowball effect that made the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge such a viral phenomenon; keep a video meme going by letting others pile on.

You obviously have to log into Facebook to get started, and each video needs some kind of tag explaining its theme or message. All videos with the same tag (like “#birthday”) are then categorized and made searchable.

With Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, Meerkat and plenty of other apps in the video sharing game, Riff faces tough competition. Facebook’s last photo/video sharing app was Slingshot, and it’s done miserably so far. Riff’s success will completely depend on its central concept: people actually using it to add onto each other’s videos. If that idea doesn’t take off, the app will join Slingshot in the depths of the App Store charts.

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