White Walkers are invading Facebook.
HBO is one of the first entertainment studios to build a camera effect for Facebook, using the new augmented reality platform. It released a mask that turns people into the Night King--the leader of the army of the dead and ice-cold slayer of dragons last episode--in their video selfies.
In April, Facebook launched a camera effects platform that borrowed from one of Snapchat's biggest innovations, and let brands and creative studios use it for free. Developers can sign up and start testing effects themselves.
Television networks and movie studios are typically early adopters because people tend to crave their content. In this case, HBO worked with digital effects studio The Mill on an animated mask for the season finale of "Game of Thrones" this Sunday.
People will see the effect in the camera screen on Facebook starting Friday. Facebook has already worked with major studios like NBCUniversal to test interest in masks among users, and more brands and ad agencies are starting to jump into the platform. Augmented reality is of growing interest in marketing now that most major platforms will be open to the technology--Google and Apple are developing for AR, as well.
Facebook's camera effects pose a real challenge for Snapchat, because it could make the technology common whereas Snapchat had been able to place a premium on it and charges hundreds of thousands of dollars for advertisers to build animated filters.
It's unclear if HBO is paying for promotions on Facebook outside its routine advertising scheme, and the network declined to comment further for this story.It did post videos of the Night King mask in action being used by Kristofer Hivju, who pllays Tormund.