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Is Facebook Launching a TikTok Competitor?

With Facebook roping in former Google employee Jason Toff for a key portfolio, speculation is rife about the social networking giant preparing the launch of a serious competitor to the short video-sharing app TikTok.

Toff, who earlier served as the General Manager for Twitter’s short-video sharing service Vine, has joined as Facebook’s Product Management Director to lead the company’s recently formed New Product Experimentation (NPE) team.

“I suppose it’s a good time to share what I’m up to next! In two weeks, I’ll be joining Facebook as a PM Director starting up a new initiative under the recently formed NPE team,” Toff announced on Twitter on Monday.

Announced last week, Facebook’s NPE team is aimed at developing experimental apps for consumers who are still slightly removed from the core Facebook brand.

In Google, Toff worked on Virtual Reality (VR) projects as well as on Google’s in-house Area 120 incubator — which is similar in concept to Facebook’s NPE team, The Verge reported.

While Toff said he could not reveal details of what he is working on, his Twitter post mentioned he is looking to hire a team of UX designers and engineers to work on the project.

The world’s largest social media platform last week announced that it will begin to launch new consumer-focused apps under the developer name “NPE Team, from Facebook.”

“NPE Team apps will be aligned with Facebook’s mission of giving people the power to build community but will focus on shipping entirely new experiences. We decided to use this separate brand name to help set the appropriate expectations with users that NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people,” Facebook said.

Owned by Beijing-based start-up ByteDance, TikTok saw its first-time installs grow about 28 per cent year-over-year for the first half of 2019 to nearly 344 million worldwide despite a two-week ban in India during Q2, revealed an estimate by mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

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