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Snapchat adds Challenges feature with user-created lenses

Early challenges include a "Jingle Bells" singalong and a disappearing act.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
December 19, 2018
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Just in time for the holiday season and those lazy evenings where you're trying to figure out something fun to try with your family, Snapchat has launched a feature that lets you create and take part in lens-based challenges with others. With Lens Challenges, you can dare others to take on tasks such as singing along to Gwen Stefani's rendition of "Jingle Bells" or using a camera trick to make it seem as though you vanish in a "Disappear" challenge.

Of course, before now, anyone could have posted a snap saying something like "I challenge you all to sing 'Thank U, Next' while standing on your head." What's new here is the use of custom lenses for each challenge.

Snap seems to hope people will attempt to start a viral craze by creating challenges using Lens Studio, which allows anyone to make augmented reality filters for the app. It told Deadline the challenges are supposed to "inspire creativity, self-expression, and community for Snapchatters and Lens Creators alike."

It seems Snap is hoping to tap into the success of popular challenges on TikTok here, particularly when it comes to song and dance challenges. Still, with monthly active users dipping by 2 million to 186 million last quarter, it's worth trying a feature that's likely to keep people engaged with the app and perhaps even lure some former users back.

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