Instagram has replaced Snapchat as Facebook’s muse.
On Tuesday, Facebook added some of Facebook-owned Instagram’s features to its own mobile apps, including its own take on Live Stories and Boomerangs, through an update to its in-app camera, called Camera.
Live video in Stories
The most notable new feature is the addition of live videos to Stories, which Facebook brought over from Instagram’s after Instagram copied it from Snapchat. Now, when people start a live stream from Facebook’s in-app camera or the traditional post composer box on the app’s main screen, that broadcast will automatically appear within that person’s Story, as well as the normal news feed placement. If people don’t want a live video to appear in both their Story and their friends’ news feeds, they can toggle off either placement. Or they can tap the “Your Story” icon in the app’s main screen, which defaults to only post the broadcast to Story.
By having live streams automatically appear within the Stories feed by default, Facebook may be able to solve two problems. First, people’s Stories feeds may no longer look as barren, if people they follow post live streams. And second, Facebook may be able to use the Stories feed to make people more immediately aware when someone they follow is live and may no longer need to algorithmically rank live broadcasts higher in the news feed. It may be that making live videos prominent in users’ feeds adds a layer of friction that negatively impacts the amount of time people spend in their feeds.
Support for Boomerangs
Facebook’s updated in-app camera also enables people to record two-second-long looping videos a la Instagram’s one-second-long looping Boomerangs, and to produce full-screen text posts with colored backgrounds. These GIFs, as Facebook is rightly calling them, and text-plus posts, as I’m calling them, can be shared as a news feed post, added to a Story or sent in a private message.