Facebook Completes Snapchatification

The never ending snapchatification saga that began with Instagram last August is finally complete. After bringing the Snapchat Stories-inspired feature to Messenger and WhatsApp in the last two months, Facebook officially rolled it out to its flagship app today. Called Stories (what else?), the update brings a bunch of camera-focussed features that lets users take photos and apply filters, stickers and the likes before sharing them either on their Timelines or with a select set of friends (sort of like a mini-Messenger within Facebook which it separated from the main app in 2014). As is the case with Stories elsewhere on Facebook's digital estate, the posts and stories are ephemeral in that they disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook Stories and Direct Messages (Image courtesy: Facebook)

That Facebook is willing to give Stories more prominence over the traditional News Feed by putting them on top speaks volumes about the importance the social network is attaching to visual communication over text and other formats. In addition, by doing so in four different ways across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, it so appears that it is ready to risk messing with the overall user experience come what may (even if it restored some of the lost functionality in WhatsApp after backlash). Setting aside the fact that whether this relentless adoption may lead to a feature fatigue (in return secretly hoping that users ditch its rival Snapchat altogether), the enticing aspect is of course is its transient nature, which may spur reluctant, privacy-conscious users to share more knowing that their stories will be automatically deleted in 24 hours.