A mere two months after Instagram pinched Snapchat’s Stories feature (and didn’t even bother to customize it), the photo-sharing app’s parent company Facebook is following suit.
The social network is currently testing a Messenger update in Poland that includes a new feature entitled Messenger Day. Like Instagram, Facebook has copied Snapchat’s pioneering Stories feature without adding so much as a hint of originality.
A number of Polish outlets have confirmed that the Messenger Day update, launched on Friday, is currently exclusive to Poland. It boasts a number of new features, the most prominent is the ability to create and share stories (images and videos that auto-play in a slideshow format) that are displayed for 24 hours before disappearing. If your first reaction to the update is “that sounds just like Snapchat and Instagram,” that’s because it is. Users can doodle on the Messenger Day posts, and overlay them with graphics such as filters, Facebook stickers, and text.
The only major difference noted by users is the filter suggestion function, which basically prompts you to share different types of posts, such as “I’m Feeling”, “Who’s Up For?” and “I’m Doing.” Clicking on these options reveals associated filters in relation to events and emotions like “blessed,” “let’s grab drinks” and “study time.”
Unlike Snapchat (and its buzzing South Korean clone Snow), Messenger Day foregoes selfie filters — arguably the most fun Snapchat feature — in favor of graphics and stickers.
“We know that people come to Messenger to share everyday moments with friends and family. In Poland we are running a small test of new ways for people to share those updates visually. We have nothing more to announce at this time,” a Messenger spokesperson said in a statement.
Why choose Poland for such a major update? According to Polish blog Spider’s Web, the country is an important market for Facebook due to its large number of Messenger users.
Additionally, Facebook has quietly borrowed from another popular messaging app as part of the update. Tucked away among the new features are additional stickers from local designers — which sounds suspiciously similar to Line and WeChat’s respective stickers marketplace tools, both of which opened up the popular graphics to creators. We already know that Facebook is actively trying to emulate those apps, courtesy of its recent hire of a WeChat product manager and the launch of Messenger bots. An added emphasis on stickers only brings it closer to its Asian rivals.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has borrowed from Snapchat. Last month, users began spotting a disappearing messages feature on Messenger. A similar group messaging function has also appeared for select users on Facebook itself. And who can forget its Poke and Slingshot apps (aside from everyone who ignored them in the first place)? Products of Facebook’s now-defunct Creative Labs department, dedicated to standalone apps, the two offerings failed to attract an audience and were hardly updated as a result.
Seeing as Instagram Stories is apparently thriving, it begs the question: why is Facebook still determined to copy Snapchat despite the backlash such plagiarism inevitably attracts? The answer is that the social network craves the type of personal (if disposable) posts Snapchat users share on a daily basis. Facebook simply doesn’t command that type of activity, at least not anymore.
If Facebook gets the result it wants, and Messenger Day takes off in Poland, don’t be surprised if it lands on these shores in the near future.