Facebook is rolling out ‘Stories’ in its main Facebook app, copying Snapchat’s main feature for the fourth time in less than a year.
The feature, which lets users create a sequence of pictures and videos to chronicle an event, has already been launched on Facebook’s other key platforms Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Now, Facebook has decided to place it front and centre of its main product.
After tapping the in-app camera, users can snap and share a picture that automatically disappears after 24 hours.
Like Snapchat, Facebook Stories allows users to heavily customise their pictures with filters, text, drawings, stickers, frames and animated masks.
Masks come from the likes of Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman, which the company has partnered with.
Users can also choose to share Stories with all of their friends or a select number.
Friends’ Stories will sit right at the top of the News Feed in the Facebook app, so users won’t be able to miss them.
“Starting this week on iOS and Android, you can tap on the camera icon on the top left corner of the Facebook app or swipe right from News Feed to try out the new in-app camera,” said Facebook Stories product manager Connor Hayes.
“Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera.”
Instagram Stories has proven extremely popular since its arrival last year, and Mark Zuckerberg won’t mind that all of his company’s apps are based around the same core feature, as long as Facebook Stories opens up new revenue opportunities.
Commenting on the move, Robert Lang, CEO, Socialbakers, said: “Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, and now Facebook Stories – visual content, such as photo and video, have become massively popular on social media, and Facebook’s new feature strongly indicates that ‘stories’ are here to stay.
“We live in a society where social sharing is second nature, especially for young people. As video quickly becomes people’s preferred channel for consuming and sharing information and entertainment online, it is vital for brands to follow suit and accept that we are moving away from text-based communication in favour of image-based messaging.
“As Facebook Stories eventually become available to brands and publishers, one of the advantages for marketers is that due to its similarities to Snapchat and Instagram, they probably have an understanding of how to produce short, snappy content – a key component for brands’ social content when reaching audiences. For maximum impact, brands should begin to adopt a more thorough approach to analytics to measure the quality of their engagement on social media, not just the quantity, as well as their overall success. This is what will help drive genuine brand engagement.”