Facebook is today rolling out Facebook Stories to all users.

Facebook Stories are short user-generated photo and video collections that can be viewed up to two times and disappear after 24 hours.

The story format, originated and made famous by Snapchat, has been on Facebook’s radar for some time, with the Menlo Park-based company first testing a Snapchat Stories clone within Messenger in September 2016.

Now, Facebook users can share stories within the main Facebook app.

The feature, known as Facebook Stories, is focused around Facebook’s in-app camera which allows users to overlay fun filters and Snapchat-like lenses to their content as well as add visual geolocation tags to their photos and videos. To access the camera, simply swipe right on Facebook’s mobile app.

Facebook Stories

This follows hotly on the heels of Instagram’s incredibly successful stories launch. Instagram Stories launched in August 2016 and now more than 150m people use Stories daily across the globe.

The Facebook Stories update is accompanied by a couple more new features. Facebook’s camera is now upgraded with dozens of Snapchat-like filters and effects, including six “masks” sponsored by Hollywood studios to promote upcoming film releases.

The third update, Direct, is a combination of Messenger and Snapchat which enables users to send short videos and images to friends that will disappear after a short time.

How Facebook Stories work

Similar to Instagram Stories, content shared to stories will appear at the top of the Facebook News Feed. To view a story, users simply tap a friends’ circle at the top of the app.

Facebook Stories View

While viewing a story, users can also reply with a direct message.

Facebook-stories-reply

How to add content to Facebook Stories

Step 1: Access the camera 

To create a story on Facebook, you first need to access the camera. You can do this by swiping right on the Facebook mobile app.

Facebook Stories

Step 2: Create your content

Facebook users can share both photos and videos to stories. Once you have the camera open, you’ll be able to record your video or snap a quick photo. You’ll also notice a range of lenses and filters available to embellish your content.

To take a photo, tap on the button in the center of the screen and to record a video hold down this button.

Step 3: Share to your story

Once you’re happy with the post you’ve created, the next step is to share it to your story. To do this, tap on arrow icon in the center of the screen and then select ‘Your Story’ and tap on the send button in the bottom right of your screen. You can also send your post to selected friends via a direct message.

facebook stories

Once you’ve shared a post to your story, it will display for 24 hours and then be gone forever, just as Snapchat and Instagram Stories work. Videos and photos posted in a Facebook Story won’t show up in the News Feed or on a user’s timeline by default, but users can choose to share to the News Feed as well if they’d like to.

facebook stories

Countering the content collapse: Facebook Stories offer a way to encourage original content

The fuel that has fired Facebook’s extraordinary growth so far is user-generated content.

However, the sharing of original, user-generated content such as status’ and images declined 21% between mid-2015 and mid-2016. At the same time, sharing of news articles and other outside links increased, The Information, a tech news site, reported.

For Facebook, this seems to be a problem. Many of its users are no longer creating their own content, instead opting to share links and information from other websites. Internally at Facebook, Bloomberg reports this issue is known as “context collapse.”

It appears that the habit of sharing of personal content, such as images and videos, has shifted to smaller, more closed communities like Snapchat, instant messengers (like Whatsapp, Messenger) and Facebook-owned, Instagram.

Facebook Stories introduces the concept of 24-hour disappearing photos to a much wider audience than any other product to date. Over 1.7 billion people use Facebook’s mobile app each month, many of whom may not have come across story-style content before if they don’t use Snapchat or Instagram Stories.

From a content perspective, this seems to make sense for Facebook. When people open Facebook they expect to see photos and videos from their friends and connections. But with fewer users creating content and a rise in brands posting to Facebook and ads in the feed, many users feel they miss out on the type of posts that helped Facebook to take over the social media world.

Whether Facebook’s core users will adopt the feature remains to be seen. Though it’s a place for friends, Facebook appears to be much wider network than places like Instagram and Snapchat where users may be a little more selective with who they add and share content with.

A move towards camera-first communication

Combatting the context collapse seems to be an important challenge for Facebook. One way the company is approaching this challenge is through promoting camera-first communication.

Facebook’s main app is one of their last properties to adopt the stories format, which focuses on user-generated photo and video content. Messenger Day was launched with Messenger in March 2017, following hotly on the heels of February’s Whatsapp’s Status update and Instagram Stories rolled out in August 2016.

In a recent note focused on Messenger in 2017, David Marcus, Facebook’s Head of Messenger explained how the camera is beginning to replace the keyboard:

 

People expect the world to be so much more visual than it’s ever been before. Many of us now have powerful cameras in our pockets so when we rolled out our new camera at the end of 2016 we were reflecting this trend. We built a fast, feature-rich camera as a way for you to share visually everyday – whether it’s a video clip or quick selfie or a silly moment.

By popularizing visual, short-lived visual interactions on mobile, Snapchat started the ball rolling on the trend of camera-first communication and almost every platform is now following suit and prioritizing visual, in-the-moment content.

Whereas a few years back we may have sent an SMS or IM to our friends to share interesting and fun moments, many now default to our cameras to share this moment. Text now acts as a support to the more visual side of communication. Much like real life interactions, where our visuals and body language tell as much of a story as the words we’re saying.

Over to you

Have you tried Facebook Stories yet?

I’d love to hear what you think about this update. Will you share your day on Facebook? How will you manage stories across Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp?

Let me know in the comments 💬

This post was orginally published on March 15, 2017, and updated on March 27 to reflect the Facebook Stories feature being rolled out globally.

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Written by Ash Read

Content crafter at Buffer. I’m fascinated by storytelling, entrepreneurship, and travel. When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me on a football pitch or basketball court.

  • Caitlyn

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. Do you know how this will impact Pages? Can Pages share Facebook Stories?

    • Hey Caitlyn, that’s a great question. At the moment I’m not 100% sure how Pages will be affected by Stories. My hunch is eventually Pages will be able to create Stories much like Business Accounts can post Stories on Instagram. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops and I’ll update the post when it becomes a little clearer what may be going on.

      Thanks, Caitlyn.

      • Andreas Georgiades

        It’s an interesting move but I am more excited to see what’s going to happen with the Fan Pages, at the moment we are going to create a personal accounts for business use and engage with our fans through there. That will give us an organic reach for the time being. Looking forward to an updated from you @ashleyread:disqus

  • I was going to give it a go, but it seems to share Stories with all Facebook friends, it doesn’t allow me to select a list (such as Family). That makes it a complete non-starter for me.

  • Thank you ! Good news

  • Ana Krstić

    Hey Ash, thanks so much for sharing. It is left to see how search engines are going to adapt to the eventual victory of visuals over content.

  • Useful post. I especially liked the explanation for context collapse and beginning of Camera first communication.

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  • Nice post to learn about Facebook latest features.

  • Joseph Graziadei

    Great new feature for Facebook! Do you think this will grow in popularity like Instagram stories?

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  • Same features for all of their apps!!! that is ridiculous!

  • Facebook stories finally taught me WTF snapchat is all about. I love FB stories!

  • How is this different from Instagram stories? I know this isn’t out for Pages yet but you have to assume it’s coming. Ugh. What’s a small business to do when YOU are the social media “team” (along with a whole bunch of other jobs)? I agree with Shayan, they should just roll all their real estate together and make it easier to use.

  • TopKnot60

    Still trying to figure out why I’d want to create a story on social media, only to watch it become unavailable after 24 hours. The concept starts with the idea of context-collapse where people aren’t sharing things as much. For Facebook, and others, the solution is to move towards a camera-first communication concept that will be shared more often?

    To me, that concept collapses rapidly when my story disappears after 24 hours. There is obviously zero chance it will be shared at that point. Please, explain how a limited run graphic and video presentation helps me tell a story to my friend, family or customers. It may help the social media platform because it doesn’t have to use up hard drive space, if the story truly is deleted forever.

    • I struggle with that issue of stuff disappearing, too. But then I’m also someone who – generally – doesn’t tweet without a link (preferably back to content I own) or a shareable visual to share along with it. Same concept: What’s the point if you’re not sending someone where you want them to go or giving them something they can pass along?

      I use our Instagram story as a relationship builder and brand personality definer, and just because it’s a more relaxed, fun space where I feel a little more free to experiment. But I also know waaaay fewer people see our Story stuff than our regular Insta posts, plus it can’t be shared and interacting is kind of a hassle. So I guess I’d say it’s more indulgent than effective, at least at this point.

    • Whether its for business or not, I have little interest in posting things that disappear in 24 hours. I don’t use Snapchat, I have yet to use IG Stories and I doubt I’ll use FB stories either.

  • Interesting article, Ash. It’s so difficult to keep up on all the constant changes on social media. I appreciate being able to find a good overview. I’m not sure I’m going to dive in, but it’s worth a look.

  • Verena Walt

    Hey Ash, do you know when Facebook Stories will be available for companies/corporations? Or is it possible already in the US? I work for a company in Germany and so far, i do not see it anywhere in Facebook.

  • Simon Jones

    I would like to remove from the top of my app but cant find out how, Am sure its useful for some people but I dont want it.

  • Em Gould

    I think it’s the stupidest waste of time I’ve ever seen.

  • Kathy Abdel-Hak

    I don’t even see the story feature on my phone when I swipe right to see the camera there is no camera. Not sure what is going on and I did just up date my app today.

    • Cheryl Warnke Rorick

      I don’t have the function either, it doesn’t make sense. Does anybody know why it doesn’t show up on my iPhone 7 which is updated??

  • Lee N Trish Hamberg

    is there a way to delete these story buttons? i don’t want to see this on my page.

  • Scott Dental

    Is there any option to update Facebook Stories on a company page on Facebook ????

  • Loay Al-wesi

    I can’t believe that Facebook group has released this same stories features for all of it’s products: Instagram, Whats app, Facebook and even Facebook messenger !!
    That being said, it’s kind of useless for Facebook to allow these stories to be viewed only on Facebook app; I have checked the Desktop version of Facebook and there is no sign of the stories in there even though I posted one myself.

  • Wendy Breakstone Ladd

    If only it would roll out to me! I still dont have it. FOMO!!!

  • Nick McCarthy

    I’m really pis*ed off with the poor design of this feature – posted a bunch of story content in offline mode – Facebook allowed to post as normal with no errors.. except it didn’t.. all the content went into a black hole and even upon connecting to WIFI it was lost forever. Great.