Facebook Introduces Stories on the Heels of Snapchat IPO

March 9, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Facebook has grown to the point where virtually every smartphone user on the planet has the app on their phone — and those who don’t almost certainly use it at home. That popularity has come at a price for the company’s app developers, though, as the original use cases that brought users to the platform were eroded by the scrutiny of a huge community. It’s not useful for chatting with friends, when your Mom, Dad, and weird Aunt Sally are commenting on your every move. It’s not useful for practical communication when the privacy settings and interface are designed to favor viral, fake-news-type content. And it’s certainly not the go-to for face-to-face communication, particularly in the age of Snapchat.

Facebook seemingly aimed at fixing that problem with the launch of a standalone Messenger app, although user adoption has been slow, and a far cry from the social media app interface of competitors for user attention like Instagram and Snapchat. Now that Instagram has established that swiping the “stories” feature from Snapchat won’t create a lawsuit, however, Facebook has taken notice. After limited testing outside the US, Messenger’s own “stories” feature has now launched internationally on both the Android and iOS apps, with the Facebook app development team’s own take on selfie-centric communication.

Like Snapchat and Instagram — and no big surprise to Bay Area iPhone app developers — Facebook is moving in the direction of making 24-hr disappearing photos central to their user experience. Unlike it’s social media competitors, though, the use cases or users are much more utilitarian. While Instagram is for broadcasting and Snapchat is for fun, Messenger tends to be the default for practical conversations — coordinating with friends, sharing puppy pictures with Mom, and etc. Will Messenger become the Snapchat for practical communication? If user growth continues the way it has been, the answer is likely “yes.”

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