Facebook has been on a Snapchat-copying roll. First Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, rolled out its version of 24-hour stories. Then Facebook began testing a similar product on its Messenger app in Poland. And now, Facebook is testing ephemeral stories on its main mobile app. Facebook mobile app users in Ireland can now test the feature, called Facebook Stories, on iOS and Android, as first reported by Business Insider.
The feature centers on Facebook’s new in-app camera that acts a lot like Snapchat’s. Users can put fun filters over their faces or add visual geolocation tags to their photos and videos. It’s accessed — like Snapchat — by swiping to the right on the mobile app.
Camera content added to stories will show up at the top of friends’ Facebook app, similarly to how stories are laid out on Instagram. Users just tap a friend’s circle to view their story, and once they’re viewing the story, they can reply with a direct message, like they can on Instagram or Snapchat. Videos and photos posted in a Facebook Story won’t show up in the News Feed or on a user’s timeline by default, although users can choose to share there, as well. Facebook Stories is expected to eventually roll out to additional countries, although we don’t have a more specific timeline.
Facebook has seemingly had great success in replicating Snapchat’s strategy of camera-first sharing. The company says 150 million people use Instagram Stories daily, which is about the size of Snapchat’s total user base. With Facebook claiming more than a billion users, Facebook Stories has the potential to expand the reach of the temporary stories concept. I personally can’t wait to see what my long-lost high school frenemies are up to in their day-to-day lives. It’s content I’ve been missing out on for nearly a decade.