Snap! Instagram mirrors Snapchat in new ‘Stories’ service

Stories is set to roll out over the coming weeks. © Reuters
Facebook previously failed to lure Snapchat in with an offer of $3 billion in 2013. Evidently still raw from rejection, Facebook has blatantly ‘drawn inspiration’ from one of Snapchat’s key services, which is being launched on Instagram.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, announced it will roll out ‘Stories’ in the coming weeks, allowing users to create a rolling slideshow of images and videos that disappear after 24 hours. The feature is nearly identical to Snapchat’s own Stories.

Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story. With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed. You’ll see stories from people you follow in a bar at the top of your feed — from your best friends to your favorite popular accounts. When there’s something new to see, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it. To view someone’s story, just tap on their profile photo. It’s easy to view stories at your own pace: tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story. If you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments. Your story follows the privacy settings of your account. If you set your account to private, your story is visible only to your followers. However, you can also easily hide your entire story from anyone you don’t want to see it, even if they follow you. When watching your own story, swipe up to check out who’s seen each photo and video. You can even choose to feature a particular part of your story by posting it on your profile. Instagram has always been a place to share the moments you want to remember. Now you can share your highlights and everything in between, too. Instagram Stories will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on iOS and Android. To learn more, check out help.instagram.com.

A video posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to announce the launch of Instagram Stories, saying it would put “video at the center of all our services.” Despite being an internet veteran, Zuckerberg asked for people to share their comments on his post, something not advisable to do even when your product isn’t controversial.

"Let us know what you think!" I think Snapchat is going to be pissed," one commenter wrote. "Snapchat-like on Facebook World.... No, I prefer the real Snapchat app, sorry," wrote another, echoing the sentiments of many who said it was not an original addition to Instagram.

Snapchat saw a sharp rise in popularity after Facebook’s failed attempt to buy it in 2013, and it is now valued at $19 billion according to Fortune. With an estimated 150 million daily users, the app has surpassed Twitter.

Before failing to acquire Snapchat in 2013 Facebook attempted to launch a rival to Snapchat with the Poke app, which was eventually pulled after just over a year in the app store.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitted that Snapchat deserved the credit for Stories, but justified the decision to mimic it by comparing it to Instagram filters.

“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront,” Systrom said. “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”