At long last, Facebook’s Snapchat-apeing saga is complete: Stories is now rolling out to everyone on Facebook proper, after landing on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger over the past several months. Along with it comes a filter-tastic new in-app camera, as well as a direct messaging feature.
Stories had been on trial in a number of countries since at least January, so we have a fair idea of what to expect (which is to say, it works exactly like on Instagram). Stories live above your News Feed for 24 hours, and can include both videos and images with a variety of filter effects. There’s even a dedicated camera button on the top left to serve as a constant reminder that the social network is now more visually-oriented than ever.
One area Facebook is a bit different from the rest, however, is that your have the option to share Stories directly onto your Timeline and News Feed as well, giving them a bit more visibility by placing them among standard posts. You can also now share 24-hour media with only a few specific people via a ‘Direct’ feature.
On Instagram, at least, we know that Stories have been hugely successful. The company shared that over 150 million people were using the feature in January (five months after it was introduced), showing people were receptive to the new format.
You might be wondering: why can’t you just cross-post your stories all the apps at once? For now, Facebook says it likes to keep its platforms fairly separate, and that it wants to test out what works best on each app – there’s a reason Facebook proper is the last one to receive it. The company is considering cross-posting, but it’s waiting to see how it all plays out first.
Fair enough, I suppose, though I feel bad for the social media gurus who will feel the need to post the same story to four separate apps (five, if you include Snapchat).
Stories, the new camera, and Direct are rolling out to everyone on Facebook starting today.