Facebook to complete the set with Stories

Posted on March 21, 2017

Social networking site Facebook has recently announced its intentions to add a new feature to its main platform, after introducing it to various other platforms it owns.

The company is adding the Stories feature to the main Facebook app, and this will complete the set of platforms to which it has added this feature after integrating it with photo-sharing app Instagram in the summer, messaging service WhatsApp in November (calling it Status), and earlier this month with its own standalone messaging tool, Messenger, where it is known as Messenger Day.

The feature itself was originally introduced by Snapchat back in October 2013, around about the time Facebook put in an offer to purchase the company. Ever since that rejection, Facebook has done everything in its power to overhaul the popular photo-messaging company, the initial vibe of which was disappearing messages.

The Stories feature is a cluster of images and photos that can be edited by the user to include drawings, filters, stickers and text, and they are uploaded to a storyboard at the top of app. These messages last for a maximum of 24 hours and vanish once that time has elapsed.

This feature was one of Snapchat’s most prominent, having become popular among users in 2014 with hundreds of millions of photos being uploaded on a daily basis. Fortunately for Facebook, and Instagram, Instagram Stories has gone on to be bigger than the whole of Snapchat thanks to its significantly larger user base.

However, in the last few months, Facebook has – not so subtly – been targeting this particular feature and has been integrating it with anything and everything it can. The final step for the company is to implement it with the main Facebook platform, which it is now in the process of doing.

The addition of Facebook stories to the app will be one of the biggest changes to the Facebook news feed in quite a while and will potentially alter the way in which users will interact with it. At the top of the news feed, users usually find the status and update box. Once the stories feature has rolled out, the box will make way for the storyboard.

Visually, it is set to look the same as Instagram, with a horizontal row of circles containing the faces of the friends who have uploaded something to the storyboard. Furthermore, its addition will represent a fundamental change for the platform, going away from the standard news feed where people scroll through pictures, videos and text.

It could change the way users interact and post on Facebook, having already made alterations to the way Instagram users post. Facebook may hope that this is the case as it looks at a way of undoing the ‘context collapse’, where users don’t share much information about themselves anymore, instead sharing content such as posts and memes they find amusing.

Like with Snapchat and the other Facebook-owned platforms, Facebook Stories will conform to the conventional format of anything posted expiring after 24 hours, and will allow a mixture of photos and videos for users to share with their friends and other acquaintances with whom they are connected.

Facebook tested this feature amongst a sample of users based in Ireland earlier in the year, and it is now being rolled out to everyone worldwide. Not everyone in the world has access to the feature just yet, but it will only be a matter of time before the social network finishes these updates.

The feature will only work with the mobile version of the app – both on Android and iOS – and Stories can only be uploaded there too.

Posted by Alan Littler

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