Signal has increasingly been bringing mainstream chat features to its encrypted communications app over the last couple years, and now it’s adding stories to the mix. Yes, stories are available to Signal’s beta testers as of this week. Just like on Snapchat and Instagram, Signal’s take on stories “lets you create and share images, videos, and texts with your friends on Signal that will automatically disappear after 24 hours.”
It wouldn’t be Signal if the feature weren’t end-to-end encrypted, and that privacy must-have is still present with stories. In a forum post announcing the beta release, Signal’s Greyson Parrelli explained exactly who can see your stories on the app:
You are always fully in control of who you share your stories with. You can share your stories with all of your Signal connections (Signal connections = your contacts + anyone you’ve had a 1:1 chat with), or with a custom list of friends, or with any of your Signal groups. When you share stories to groups, anyone else in that group can view, share, react, and reply to that group story.
If you’re burned out on the whole stories shtick and want nothing to do with it, you can disable the entire feature in Signal’s settings. Doing so means you won’t be publishing your own stories, obviously, but it also removes access to anyone else’s stories that you might otherwise be able to watch.
During the testing period, only Signal beta users will be able to create and view stories. Thus far, the response seems mostly positive, though some people are complaining about wasted space and how much room the stories area takes up. I’d expect Signal to refine and improve stories based on early feedback before deploying the feature to its main stable app.
Last month, Signal named Meredith Whittaker as its first president. Whittaker, who had been on Signal’s board since 2020, is aiming to secure the app’s long-term sustainability while also guiding its overall strategy. “We do have growth goals, but they are driven by our mission, not by a desire for profit,” she told The Washington Post.