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Facebook rolls out ‘Lasso’ app and changes policies on sexual harassment

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Facebook has launched a video app “Lasso” that enables users to make and share short-format videos with filters and special effects.

“Lasso, FB’s new short-form video app is now available in the US!” Facebook Product Manager Andy Huang said in a tweet on Friday.

Equipped with video-editing tools, the app allows users to add text as well as music to their videos.

The social networking giant chose to roll out the app quietly, without any official announcement.

“Lasso is a new standalone app for short-form, entertaining videos. We’re excited about the potential here, and we’ll be gathering feedback from people and creators,” CNET quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying in an email on Friday.

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All profiles and videos on the app would be public.

Lasso has been made available to US users first as Facebook tries to compete with the likes of other similar platforms like Snapchat and YouTube.

By comparison, nearly 69 per cent of US teenagers use Snapchat, 72 per cent say they use Instagram and 85 per cent say they use YouTube, the report added.

The app is available on both, iOS and Android where users could log-in using their Facebook or Instagram accounts and share their videos from Lasso to their Facebook Stories.

The content sharing integration of Lasso with Instagram Stories is also expected to come soon.

There has been no word about the global release of the app from Facebook as yet.

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Facebook to make arbitration for harassment claims optional

Following Google’s footsteps, Facebook is also planning to do away with its policy of requiring employees to settle sexual harassment claims made against colleagues in private arbitration alone, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Facebook announced the new policy in an internal post to staff, the report on Friday said.

The rule change will allow Facebook employees to pursue sexual harassment claims in court if they so wish.

Earlier, Google on Thursday announced that it was making arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

Google outlined the new sexual harassment policy after over 20,000 employees staged a global walkout last week in protest against sexual harassment at the company and its improper handling of sexual misbehaviour allegations against top executives.

Facebook following the same policy now marks a significant departure from its earlier stance in which it defended the mandatory arbitration policy as “appropriate”.

The social networking giant has also updated its inter-office dating policy to require any executive at a director level or above to disclose any romantic relationship with another colleague, even if they are not overseeing that employee’s work.

Several other companies — including Microsoft, Uber, and Lyft — have dropped forced arbitration clauses from sexual harassment claims, The Verge reported.

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