Life imitates art, Facebook imitates Snapchat. For Zuckerberg’s website, captivating fickle millennials is a life-or-death fight, and what millennials seem to really be into right now is a non-permanent record of what their friends have been up to lately.
Facebook has rolled out a new feature, called Facebook Stories, to iOS and Android users in Ireland. According to Business Insider, the test is restricted to Ireland for now, but if everything proceeds well, you can expect it to roll out to more countries in the next few months. Facebook has a long history of testing features in individuals countries before a global rollout.
Another thing Facebook has a long history of? Copying Snapchat’s best features. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, rolled out its own Stories feature last year that’s a near-perfect copy of Snapchat stories. All Facebook is really doing here is taking Instagram Stories and rolling it out to Facebook’s massive user base.
Facebook Stories works in exactly the same way as Snapchat’s My Story feature. Users add photos and videos to a story, which appears at the top of your friends’ newsfeed. Photos and videos don’t appear as a separate post on your timeline (or anyone else’s, for that matter) and vanish after 24 hours. To add insult to flattery, Facebook also encourages users to add selfie filters and geofilters to images.
Since its famous beginnings as a desktop site for university students, Facebook has managed to pivot seamlessly to capture a younger, mobile-first audience. Its success as a must-have communications app for young people is responsible for its multi-billion dollar valuation, but Snapchat’s recent rise is a direct challenge to Facebook. Having failed to buy Snapchat for a couple billion a few years ago, it seems that Zuckerberg is doing the next best thing: copying Snapchat into oblivion.