It's just the latest Facebook feature that borrows heavily from its ghostly competitor

Facebook has borrowed Snapchat's biggest and most famous picture.

The company has now built a special camera feature into its Messenger app, and added other visual tools meant to make it easier to send pictures to friends.

As well as allowing easy access to the camera, the new Messenger includes animations and special effects that can be laid over the top of pictures. Those filters are one of Snapchat's most central features, and have accounted for a large part of its growth in recent months.

It is just the latest feature to take its cues from Snapchat. Those also included the addition of stories and disappearing images to Instagram, for instance.

"Imagine the Messenger camera as a powerful new tool that lives just behind your inbox," Facebook said of the update to the app.

"It's always one tap away - whether you're already in a conversation or have just opened up the app. You will see the shutter button centre in the screen, a tap takes a photo, a long press records a video."

Like Snapchat, the camera lets people add stickers and emoji on top of a picture or video and then send it on to friends.

Facebook has gradually been building out Messenger, adding new features to it more quickly than it does to the main Facebook app or website. The company has referred to the tool as eventually becoming an entire platform on its own, powered by bots, that would allow people to interact with computers and shops and not just their friends.

Other recent additions have included games that people can play with each other over the platform.