Facebook Messenger launches clone to Snapchat Stories

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook is taking another swipe at Snapchat, this time with Facebook Messenger cloning its popular Stories feature and calling it Messenger Day.

With Messenger Day, you can add photos and videos to your "day," where friends can view and reply to them. You can choose to share your day with all of your Messenger contacts or with a more intimate group of friends and family. Everything you add disappears after 24 hours.

Facebook said Messenger Day would begin rolling out Thursday on iOS and Android.

Messenger, which has 1 billion users, is the latest Facebook app to mimic the popular photo-sharing features pioneered by Snapchat.

In February, WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging service used by 1.2 billion people, unveiled Status, which lets people share images, GIFs and videos as a status update. Status, like Snapchat's Stories feature, disappears after 24 hours.

In August, Facebook-owned Instagram, which has 600 million users, debuted Stories, a look-alike of Snapchat's Stories feature. Facebook is testing Stories in its core app, too.

 

The giant social network is tapping into a more visual and more casual way of communicating with friends and family. It's a bid to increase engagement on Facebook's main app and its other apps and position itself to more effectively compete with Snap, the parent company of Snapchat.

Faced with a decline in engagement, Facebook began taking inspiration from Snapchat after the Venice, Calif. messaging service, hugely popular with teens and young adults, launched Stories in 2014.

Soon images and videos took center stage at Facebook. In a November call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg said: "We believe a camera will be the main way that we share." Facebook is testing the concept of putting the camera front and center in its app, much the way Snapchat does.

With photos and videos come filters, frames and masks that make status updates more personal and expressive.  And, by making photos and updates disappear after they are sent, Facebook is encouraging people to share more everyday moments rather than just the highlights.

Instagram Stories is a success story for Facebook. More than 150 million people use it daily. It's so popular, in fact, that Snap cited Instagram as a potential risk factor in its initial public offering filing. While Snap is still adding daily users quickly, the rate of growth slowed in the second half of 2016, around the same time that Instagram rolled out Stories.

The relationship with Snap is complicated. Facebook offered more than $3 billion to buy Snap in 2013. CEO Evan Spiegel rejected the offer, believing his company was worth more. Snap priced its IPO of 200 million shares at $17 each on March 1, raising more than $3 billion for a valuation of just under $24 billion.  Snap shares opened at $24 March 2  and closed at $24.48, a 44% increase from the offering price. On Wednesday they had sunk back to $22.81.

(© 2017 USA TODAY)


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