Facebook hires former Vine head, may be preparing to launch TikTok-competitor

Toff says he is leaving Google, and will be joining Facebook as a PM Director of NPE team.

A week after Facebook announced NPE (stands for “new product experimentation”) — a brand that will be developing experimental apps for consumers who are still slightly removed from the core Facebook brand, the company hired former Vine head Jason Toff. Late on 15 July, Toff announced that he is leaving Google, and will be joining Facebook as a PM Director "starting up a new initiative under the recently formed NPE team".

Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook's F8 developers conference. Image: Reuters

Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook's F8 developers conference. Image: Reuters

Toff left Vine back in 2016 to join Google, where he worked on VR projects and later at Google’s in-house Area 120 incubator, which is similar to Facebook's new NPE segment.

Toff did not exactly mention the details about the project, but he did say that he is now hiring a team of UX designers and engineers to work on the project. And considering the new app initiatives Toff has worked on, he is a natural fit for whatever experimental new services Facebook is working on with its NPE apps, and our best bet is a TikTok competitor.

Facebook has always been placing its money on videos, and in November last year, it announced its plans to work on its own short-form video app called Lasso. It was then described as "basically TikTok/Musical.ly. It’s full-screen, built for teens, fun and funny and focused on creation."

Last year, Facebook also added lip-sync live feature to Facebook pages. Again a very TikTok-like feature. It also had a display of lyrics onscreen, turning it into a karaoke-like experience. Facebook has also rolled out music stickers that users can add to their Facebook stories — similar to Instagram.

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