Media & Entertainment

Facebook’s video editor is embarrassingly old, and Apple is creeping


Image Credits:

You know you screwed up if Apple is about to one-up you on social. 

Facebook hasn’t upgraded its video editor in well over three years. Lagging far behind Snapchat, YouTube and even Instagram, it’s a stretch to even call the featureless artifact a video editor.

All you can do with an uploaded video is trim the ends and toggle the sound on or off. That’s a glaring failure considering Mark Zuckerberg wants “video at the heart of all our apps and services.”

And now, Apple is plotting to seize the opportunity Facebook has left vacant. Bloomberg reports Apple is building a lightweight mobile video editor designed for one-minute, one-handed use.

That’s exactly what Facebook should have built years ago.

Facebook's outdated video uploader has almost no features
Facebook’s outdated video uploader has almost no features

Facebook cut pro? No.

Since late 2013, Facebook has poured resources into improving video consumption while neglecting how users record and share. It launched auto-play video in the feed, prompting an explosion in viewership. Better analytics taught creators what works. Those advances took it from hardly any video views to 1 billion per day in September 2014, to 8 billion in November 2015, to likely many more today.

It’s not like Facebook couldn’t build an editor. It developed the video sharing app Poke in 12 days, launched Slingshot, which offered solid video editing and has watched its acquisition Instagram build a modern video editor. Meanwhile, Facebook Live has become the company darling. After launching last August, it’s already added filters and is working on a drawing tool.

Perhaps the closest thing Facebook has to a video editor is its Moments photo-sharing app’s automatic slideshow movie maker. It stitches your photos and videos together with themed transitions and music to create a more interesting mini-film. It’s supposed to be rolling out to the main app, but I don’t see it and it still lacks most basic editing tools.

So here we are, three years after I wrote that “right now Facebook’s video creation tool is painfully outdated,” and nothing has changed. That’s shameful for a company that claims to “move fast.”

What should Facebook’s video uploader be able to do? At the very least, it should let you:

  • Combine multiple clips into one video
  • Add color filters

That would at least bring it up to 2014 standards. To be considered passable in the modern age, it should also let you:

  • Stabilize shaky video
  • Add overlaid text, drawings, emoji and stickers
  • Manually combine videos and photos into Stories
For comparison, Snapchat's video editor includes all sorts of expression tools
For comparison, Snapchat’s video editor includes all sorts of expression tools

And if Facebook wanted to actually get its shit together, it’d create a best-in-class video recorder and uploader with some of these features that let you:

  • Add geofilters representing nearby neighborhoods, events, landmarks or businesses (Snapchat)
  • Create split-screen collages with multiple videos and/or photos shown at once (Editing apps)
  • Add video effects like slow-mo, fast-forward or reverse (Snapchat)
  • Select a soundtrack (Vine, YouTube)
  • Reorder clips (Editing apps)
  • Choose transitions between clips (iMovie)
  • Record video while your device is playing audio (Snapchat)
  • Zoom by scrolling one finger up and down instead of spreading and pinching with two fingers
  • Do lipsyncing (, Dubsmash)
  • Sync-to-beat for creating audio loops (Vine)
  • Ghost outlines of your previous clip to line up shots (Vine)

Plus, I’m sure Facebook’s team could come up with some cool other features. These wouldn’t have to overcomplicate the video uploader. They could be tucked in an editing options drawer so people who just want to add a clip, filter the color, slap some text on and post it could do that without getting confused.

Unlocking self-expression

Facebook needs a way to reverse the trend of declining original content sharing, which The Information reports was down 15 percent year over year as of February. Yet it’s not giving people the tools they need to create unique, compelling content. Instead, big publishers with their professional editing teams are filling the feed with social-optimized video that looks pretty but feels generic and impersonal.

At least Facebook’s app has started to integrate its acquisition of animated selfie maker MSQRD into a new camerafeed design. But that focuses on enhancing clips shot in the app, not editing existing clips.


If Facebook doesn’t make a move, Apple and others will, and those videos won’t necessarily end up on Facebook. Building a great editor gives Facebook leverage to choose whether those videos should just live on its social network, be downloadable or even be easily shared to other apps.

I’ve been blogging about Facebook for six years. For the last half of that, I’ve secretly hoped that every time the company wanted to brief me, it’d show off some slick new video editing interface. But I’ve been disappointed time and time again, and saddened by the missed chance to empower 1.71 billion people to become creators.

So seriously, Facebook…

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

15 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

17 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android