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Facebook Live gets Halloween makeover

The social network unveils Halloween-themed "masks," similar to Snapchat's lenses. Just another step in Facebook's push toward live video.


Facebook Live is debuting masks, similar to Snapchat lenses.


Facebook Live is getting a little bit spookier.

The social network on Thursday unveiled Halloween-themed updates to its live streaming service.

One new feature is Masks, which superimposes a digital mask on your face while you're shooting a live video. Options include a witch, cat, pumpkin, evil witch or skull. The Halloween-themed masks will only be around for a limited time, but other mask selections will stick around permanently.

The company is also re-theming its "Reaction" buttons in Facebook Live, those emoji-like buttons you tap to indicate Like, Wow, Haha and Love. For example, the Wow button will be a surprised ghost and the Haha button will be a cackling witch.

The update may seem small, but it's actually a notable step in Facebook's big push toward live video. The company has increasingly been trying to get regular people to use the service. The masks update is a clear play at courting young people, especially considering the masks still be available after Halloween. The feature is similar to Snapchat's popular Lenses, which can give users digital puppy ears and snouts, or flower crowns.

This isn't the only tinkering Facebook has been doing with live video. Earlier this week, Chris Cox, Facebook's product chief, demoed a live video feature that superimposes filters in the style of different artists -- like Georgia O'Keefe or Vincent Van Gogh -- over live video. It looks similar to the popular photo filter app Prisma. But there's still no timeline for when that might reach users.

The masks feature will be available on Facebook Live on Apple's iPhones in the US, UK, and New Zealand. It will come to Android phones and users in other countries "in the coming months."