Facebook leadership is still grappling with the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, but that doesn’t mean the quest to destroy Snapchat has taken a break. According to TechCrunch, the company is currently testing three new features for its ephemeral messaging Stories product that aim to make the feature a more prominent part of the mobile Facebook app.
These tests include making the Facebook camera the default option when a user chooses to update their profile status; making Stories the default sharing destination any time a user uses the Facebook camera’s Snapchat-style augmented reality features; and floating a window of Facebook Stories with large preview tiles right at the top of News Feed.
Of course, none of these changes — if they ever do make it to a majority of users — will necessarily have a big effect on the popularity of Facebook Stories. The company has seen massive success with the stories format implemented on Instagram and WhatsApp, both of which now have larger monthly active Stories users than the entirety of Snapchat. But the feature remains a ghost town on the main Facebook app. After all, there’s only so much ephemeral sharing you can do in a single day.
Facebook has tried to attack that problem by making the process of posting stories across its platforms easier. It also added desktop upload for Facebook Stories and merged the Messenger-specific version of the product with the main Facebook app version. Now, with these tests, it seems like the company is still not giving up.
It makes sense, however, that Stories will only continue to be a big focus for the company as it shifts more of its resources toward more “meaningful” interactions between family and friends. Given Snapchat’s recent growth troubles and the disavowing of the platform by big-name celebrities and influencers, it seems like Facebook’s ongoing assault on its primary messaging competitor is achieving its ultimate goal. Just don’t expect Facebook users to see any benefit from the battle.