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Riff is Facebook’s answer to Periscope and Meerkat

With the popularity of Twitter’s Periscope, it’s not surprising that Facebook wants to give them a run for their money with their new app, Riff.


The live video streaming trend is booming

Video sharing platforms like Vine, Instagram, and Periscope are gaining more followers every day. Users thrive on sharing videos and getting comments. Even with all the sharing platforms on the market, Facebook has throw their hat into the ring as well, with the introduction of their own video sharing app, Riff.

Riff is Facebook’s answer to Periscope. Riff is a fun, colorful, way to record and share videos. Just like Vine, Periscope, and other video sharing platforms, the app’s main page shows curated “featured Riffs” and Riffs created by your friends; which brings us to the first Riff caveat: you must log in with Facebook and allow access to your camera and microphone for Riff to work. Given Facebook’s past privacy problems, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Once you have logged in however, Riff allows you to add on to someone else’s Riff. This is where Riff differentiates itself from other video sharing platforms: each Riff is an ongoing conversation between friends and family.

Each posted Riff has a big plus-sign; tap it and you can add additional clips to the Riff. Once you have created a Riff, be aware that ALL of your Facebook friends will be able to see it in the app and have the ability to add their own videos to your original Riff.

Videos can be up to twenty seconds in length, which is quite a step up from Vine’s six seconds, or Instgram’s fifteen. If you change your mind while you’re recording, tap the red “x” and the video will be stopped and deleted.

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Here’s what I hate about Riff

If your Riff is especially entertaining or informational, Riff may choose to feature it in the curated section I mentioned above. Here’s what I don’t like about Riff: the privacy policy is not clearly stated. There is not mention of how your information will be utilized and whether or not your can tailor your videos to particular audiences.

For example, if I post a video of my family, I don’t necessarily want all of my business contacts to have access to this video, especially if they can add on to it. As of right now, Riff allows you to delete and report any clip, but it does not really prevent the clip from being posted in the first place. To report a clip, just tap on the whistle. There are also no filters or editing capabilities.

Here’s what I love about Riff

That being said, here’s what I like about Riff: most people are on Facebook multiple times per day, which gives you a perfect opportunity to push marketing and promotional videos through Riff (again assuming there are some type of customizable privacy options here). Also, this could be a great way for entrepreneurs to start conversations about their products and receive real feedback from other Riff users.

It’s also perfect for “showing” someone your product, thought process, or problem, rather typing out a lengthy email, especially since you can use hashtags to categorize your video conversations. Videos can also be shared across social media platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, messages, and of course, Facebook.

Keep in mind that anyone, yes, anyone can download your video. So while this can be a fun, useful tool, it also has the potential to be harmful if misused. If used for its intended purpose though, it could be as popular as Periscope and Vine, given the sheer amount of native users on Facebook.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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