When Instagram Stories launched this past summer, it was called a Snapchat copycat. But Facebook Stories might claim that title — and it might be even better. Facebook Stories, which is launching today in Ireland as a test for iOS and Android users, looks almost identical to Instagram Stories. This isn't a surprise given that Facebook owns Instagram. But what sets Facebook Stories apart and makes it far more similar to Snapchat is that you can add masks and frames to photos and images, in the same way that you add Snapchat's beauty or puking rainbow lenses.
A Facebook spokesperson released the following statement about the launch: “The way people share today is different to five or even two years ago — it's much more visual, with more photos and videos than ever before. We want to make it fast and fun for people to share creative and expressive photos and videos with whoever they want, whenever they want. We’ve been testing a new camera and the new Direct feature in Ireland since last fall, and Stories is another example of how we’re helping people share the way they want to.” Now, when users in Ireland open their Facebook apps, they'll see a bar along the top of their newsfeeds showing other peoples' Stories, in exactly the same way that Stories appear within Instagram. Photos and videos that are taken, will, in similar fashion, disappear after 24 hours. You'll also be able to reply to friends' Stories.
The past few months have proven that Snapchat and Instagram Stories could coexist, even as Instagram Stories has updated its tools to include Live video, location tags, and stickers. It will be interesting to see how the platforms will adapt if (or more likely, when) Facebook Stories goes global. We'll continue to update this piece with information about Facebook Stories.