Facebook Just Copied 2 of Snapchat’s Most Popular Features

Stories and lenses roll out to 1.15 billion mobile users

Facebook Camera Effects apply silly graphics to photos and videos.
Facebook

Did Facebook just put the final nail in the coffin for Snapchat? The social network is rolling out two Snapchat clone features for photos and videos—lenses and Stories—today that should make Snap’s product team more than a little uneasy.

Facebook is launching its Stories feature globally to its 1.15 billion mobile daily users, which lets people share ephemeral photos and videos that are displayed in a bar at the top of news feeds.

Facebook-owned Instagram rolled out its own version of the popular Snapchat Stories feature in August, racking up 150 million daily users by January when it started dropping. In January, Facebook started testing the feature in Ireland and now it is adding the feature to its flagship app, which stores the photos and videos for 24 hours before disappearing. According to a Facebook rep, advertising will not initially be shown within Facebook Stories.

“The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we’re also introducing Facebook Stories,” Facebook said in a blog post.

Facebook is also launching a new in-app camera feature called Camera Effects that’s similar to Snapchat lenses where users can apply filters and graphics to their selfies.

The social network is also working with brands to create custom “masks” that overlay photos. Film studios have been some of Snapchat’s biggest advertisers, and Facebook’s first batch of sponsored masks include multiple big studios. In its blog post, Facebook said Twentieth Century Fox film Alien: Covenant, the Universal Pictures film Despicable Me 3, the Marvel Entertainment film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Lionsgate’s Power Rangers, Sony Pictures’ Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman from Warner Bros. Pictures have created masks.