For years, Facebook has been about sharing with everyone — and doing a million other things, from selling products to joining groups to marking yourself as safe during emergencies. All of these things, together, have led to the service being the most-used Android app in the world, and overall the most popular digital platform on earth, with over 1.6 billion people hitting some form of Facebook's wide berth every day.
But since Facebook split Messenger from its core app, to participate in one-on-one communication you have to leave the app. Well, no more. Facebook has announced that it is adding Stories to its core app, taking a lot of Snapchat and a bit of Instagram and giving it a new front-and-center placement. Stories, which is rolling out worldwide to all Facebook mobile users on Android and iOS, is similar to what you see on Instagram (and Snapchat, of course) today. It is a feed of photos and videos that string together to form a 24-hour diary, replete with filters and other camera frills.
Facebook is acknowledging that filters, and the camera itself, is quickly replacing text as the important status update in peoples' days. The new camera interface will be available, as with Snapchat and Instagram, a swipe away on the left side of the app, and will offer live filters and effects (many of which will be sponsored) that can be added to photos and videos. They can either be added to one's story, which can optionally be shared to the main Facebook feed, or sent using Direct, to a single person or group of people. Either way, the content will expire within 24-hours.
Direct is an interesting addition, because it ostensibly makes the core Facebook app a competitor to its own Messenger, along with WhatsApp and Instagram, all of which incorporate their own versions of private messaging. It's unclear whether Facebook plans to consolidate these things down the line, or just slowly add asynchronous story sharing to all of its apps, but it will be interesting to see whether people actually want this to be in the core Facebook experience.