If Instagram’s newest feature looks suspiciously familiar, well, that’s because it is. Instagram Stories, an ephemeral slideshow of everyday moments which vanish after 24 hours, could easily pass as an early iteration of Snapchat.
On first glance, it appears that Instagram Stories is designed to keep users on the platform for longer. Rather than posting exclusively to their profiles (many of which are painstakingly curated), users will be able to share more playful content, safe in the knowledge that it will be gone the next day.
There is no ‘like’ button on Stories, but (as with Snapchat), you can respond to individual posts with a direct message. Stories follows the same privacy settings as the rest of your account, and you can block specific users from seeing your posts.
And if you craft a Story post that you think deserves a lifespan of longer than 24 hours, you can share it to your main profile. Perhaps this is the company’s way of trying to limit the number of users who share their Snapchat screengrabs on Instagram?
“Instagram’s reputation as the home for your glamour shots has raised the psychological bar for posting a photo there,” writes Casey Newton at The Verge. “Meanwhile, Snapchat developed a product that allows users to share frequent, candid snapshots of their days without worrying that they’re spamming friends, or leaving behind a public archive of photos that could come back to haunt them later.”
With Stories, it looks like Instagram is trying to have the best of both worlds.
This week also marks the launch of Instagram’s new anti-troll filter, which allows users to block specific words from appearing in their comments section. Now that’s something worth duplicating across every platform.