Facebook Totally Copies Snapchat Filters; Can Offices on Venice Beach Be Far Behind?
For Snapchat, the filters are an existential threat. You can have a Raccoon face on Facebook now
April 1, 2017
In the beginning, there was the vanishing photo. Then Snapchat created the vanishing video, allowing millennials to share their most private moments without threat of parental retribution. And millennials saw the light, that it was good. But today Facebook put the kabosh on everything, putting three day sensing and filters into the same use of putting glasses and rainbow vomit onto your tongue as well as Snapchat.
For Snapchat, the filters are an existential threat. You can have a Rocky Raccoon face on Facebook now, so why even bother opening a snapchat account.
Facebook on Tuesday began rolling out Stories, which encourages people to share photos and videos with friends that vanish after 24 hours.
The new feature, borrowed from popular messaging service Snapchat, is being introduced along with a slew of new camera effects and a new way to share photos and videos privately with friends on iOS and Android.
The visual bent is a radical departure for Facebook, which got its start in a Harvard University dorm room 13 years ago as a way for college kids to connect with words. Now the camera is taking the place of the keyboard as the dominant way that people express their thoughts, feelings and experiences online, Facebook says.
With Facebook Stories, people will share snapshots of interspersed moments from their lives strung together in a digital slideshow for friends to view and comment on before they disappear into digital dust.
For Facebook, this is a bid to coax young people - and people of all ages - to share more on the giant social network. The more time people spend on Facebook, the more ads they can be shown.
The social network experience didn't always lend itself to prolific and ephemeral visual sharing. For years the question "What's going on?" and a flashing cursor would greet Facebook users expectantly.
But as people shifted their focus to smartphones, their habits changed, too. With cheaper and faster Internet connections, better cameras and a general reluctance to type long messages on small screens, people started developing more expressive way to interact, increasingly relying more on images than sentences.
The proof, says Facebook product manager Connor Hayes: In markets where Facebook Stories launches, people tend to share more and more often. Facebook has been testing the new features since August.
Of course, this is a page ripped straight out of the Snapchat playbook, as Facebook freely admits.
"We think they did a good job," Hayes said. "We think it's the best format for people to share videos and photos with friends in social apps."
And that's why Facebook has been placing its bests on this more visual format.
Earlier this month, Facebook Messenger introduced Messenger Day, the latest app to mimic Snapchat's popular photo-sharing features. In February, WhatsApp 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.
Of the recent rollouts, the most successful was Instagram Stories, which grew to 150 million daily users in five months. Stories features on messaging services WhatsApp and Messenger have gotten some negative feedback from users.
Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, says Stories may find a natural home inside the Facebook mobile app.