Facebook Stories & Snap Inc.'s Big Tech IPO

If there is one thing that social behemoth Facebook is worried about, it's not Google+ (hell, no!), not Instagram (which it acquired), not WhatsApp (which also it acquired), not Pinterest (which is too niche a platform, plus Instagram mimics some of its features), not Twitter (which is beset by troubles and still figuring out its purpose), but Snapchat, a mobile-only ephemeral social messaging service that has taken teens everywhere alike by storm.

For a while it was all rosy. Facebook crossed a billion daily active users. Messenger and WhatsApp became 'the' places to have conversations (and still are). Instagram became a lucrative destination for posting photos. Until came reports of decline in original content sharing between 2013 and 2015 (via The Information) just like it happened on Facebook. In its place came Snapchat. Along came Facebook's unsuccessful attempts to acquire it.
When that didn't happen, it began taking pages from Snapchat's playbook, not in the least shy about copying its features at an alarming rate. Starting with Stories, geofilters and stickers, Instagram and Messenger has seen it all, notwithstanding the doomed Slingshot ephemeral messaging app that never gained any traction (it now resides within Messenger as Secret conversations) and a separate Snapchat clone called Flash that it released in Brazil last month. Stories also made its way to WhatsApp in the form of Status, although it’s yet to see its official rollout.

Now that Instagram Stories have become popular (it has 150 million daily users out of the total 600 million, the same number as Snapchat's total user base), the company's flagship app is about to receive the same treatment. Dubbed Facebook Stories, the feature, currently being tested in Ireland, lets users share disappearing photos and videos that vanish after a period of 24 hours. Setting aside the question whether or not this is an overkill, Snap Inc.'s imminent IPO, rumoured to be set for late next week, will doubtless make this heated battle a lot more interesting. Competition, isn't it wonderful?

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