This week Instagram took one step closer to Snapchat, which is now struggling to gain new users in the face of increasingly stiff competition from larger platforms. The addition of facial filters all but cements Instagram as a direct rival to Snap’s flagship app.
“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,” says Instagram. “From math equations swirling around your head to furry koala ears that move and twitch, you can transform into a variety of characters that make you smile or laugh.”
To access face filters, open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner.
Instagram also unveiled new creative tools, including “Rewind,” a new camera format next to “Boomerang” and “Hands-Free,” which plays videos in reverse, as well as a hashtag sticker.
“From the very first photo filter to Boomerang and more, Instagram has always been the place you can go to turn regular moments into something you can’t wait to share,” the company says. “Now, you have more fun and easy ways to express yourself and connect with the people you care about most.”
Instagram has a made a point over the past year of carbon-copying Snapchat features—and, in most cases, seeing more users engage.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, once tried to buy Snap.