The never-ending game of copycat between Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat may have just reached its inevitable peak. Just days after Snapchat adopted a very Instagram-like change to how its snaps are viewed and organized, Instagram is firing back by stealing a feature from Snapchat that Facebook itself embraced very recently: AR filters.
“Today, we’re introducing face filters in the camera, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining,” Instagram announces via a blog post, failing to acknowledge the fact that the other two most popular social apps on the planet already perform the exact same function. “Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or you’re out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends.” Lovely.
The new filters work exactly like those on Snapchat and Facebook, allowing you to add goofy masks, headwear, and effects to your selfies before sharing them with your friends. There’s also a new hashtag sticker that can be customized, because despite the best efforts of every brand on the planet, hashtags remain cool.
What’s particularly interesting about this new feature rollout is that it essentially makes Facebook-owned Instagram a carbon copy of both Snapchat and Facebook’s own camera features. Aside from app design and a few other niche features, all three platforms are now essentially equal, making it more confusing than ever to decide which one should be your go-to. If Instagram launched a pair of camera glasses, we’re not going to be able to tell them apart.