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Facebook has had some issues with retaining teens and millennials in recent years, for a variety of reasons. For some, it's the frequent privacy lapses, but for others, the company might just not have that cool factor that it did in the mid-2000s. But the company is determined to not go the way of Friendster, MySpace, and all the other social media platforms that have risen and fallen over the last decade or so.

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One of the ways to get younger app users back into your fold is to simply buy the apps that they've moved over to -- and this has worked in the cases of Instagram (Android, iOS) and WhatsApp (Android, iOS), though it cost Facebook about $20 billion total to make that happen. In fact, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, most people aren't even aware that Facebook owns both companies and has for years.

When an app developer is disinclined to take a buyout offer, however, two other choices come into play for the Silicon Valley tech giants: You either sue the competition, or you build an alternative to it. Facebook has been taking the latter approach to Snapchat for some time now, and a recent report from TechCruch indicates that the company has opened up an additional warfront on TikTok.

In a nutshell, TikTok is like YouTube but with an emphasis on amateur user-generated video clips (whereas YouTube videos are getting indistinguishable from a professional TV broadcast, both in polish and in programming length).

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Interestingly, however, Facebook is apparently building out a new and separate app, rather than adding competing features into Instagram or its own app. With surveys indicating that Facebook's usage among teens continues to plummet, perhaps the company detects a branding problem, in which case an app without its name attached may be just the tool it needs to corral users. Its new platform is appropriately named "Lasso."

Facebook has been building more music features for a while now, from a lip-syncing rival to Musical.ly to a reports of a musical talent show platform where competitors would actually sing instead of miming a performance. Lasso appears to be an evolution of the latter. There's no public ETA for its arrival, so for now, we can only speculate.


  • A report from TechCrunch indicates that Facebook is building an app named "Lasso" to compete against TikTok, an app where teens upload video clips of themselves on a YouTube-like platform.
  • Facebook has seen declining use among teens for many years, so making an app like this is one way to possibly win them back.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.