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Learn the art of the viral video with Facebook Riff, a collaborative video creator

Not every video goes viral, but Facebook’s latest app will try to increase your chances by teaching you the art of the viral video. The app, called Riff, will help you create crazy, mashup videos with your friends.

Riff comes from Facebook’s experimental Creative Labs, and is regarded by the social network firm as something of a test. The folks at Facebook have always been interested in learning what kinds of apps and services users want, and they are using apps like Riff as guinea pigs. The side project is based on a hunch that arose at Facebook about video creation, after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral.

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Product manager Josh Miller explained the team’s thought process in a blog post: “Our hunch was that if you could make videos collaboratively, the creative process would be more fun and the final product would be cooler.”

Essentially, those who want to make a video on Riff simply open the app, give the go-ahead to start filming, and record a short clip that they can then preview and share. Only friends of the video maker or collaborators can add to the video, but once the ball starts rolling, the Riff video can gain more and more collaborators, raising the odds of it going viral. It’s basically like a giant video snowball that just keeps adding new content as it charges down your friends’ newsfeeds. The Riff app will feature the best user videos on its home page, too, further increasing your video’s chance to make it big.

If the original creator doesn’t like some of the additions, the creator has control over a ‘three dot’ button to delete clips that aren’t wanted. Offensive clips and Riff videos can be reported to Facebook and will be removed if they violate Facebook’s terms.

Riff is available for download on the iOS App Store and Android Google Play Store worldwide, but it only works in 15 languages so far. Depending on how well Riff is received, Facebook could expand it, or of course abandon it entirely.