The Facebook Stories feature that the social network began testing with select iOS and Android users in Ireland in January is being tested in a few more countries, but there are no plans as of yet to roll it out globally.
A Facebook spokesperson said in an email to Social Pro Daily that the social network began testing Facebook Stories with users in Chile, Vietnam and Greece earlier this week.
The inspiration behind Facebook Stories (Snapchat aside) was the realization that the “What’s on your mind?” status update composer is still more geared toward text than toward the photos and videos that are now being shared far more frequently, along with a move toward giving users more flexibility in how they share content by adding the option of making that content disappear rather than remaining permanent.
Facebook Stories is one of three components of the new camera the social network has been testing, along with effects—masks, frames and other interactive effects—and a Direct option to share content directly with specific friends rather than via users’ Timelines and News Feed.
Users who are part of the test group can tap the camera icon in the top-left corner or swipe left from News Feed.
The new camera feature includes “reactive effects and style effects” that will be refreshed “regularly,” and the Facebook spokesperson offered falling snow as an example, saying the effects enable users to “apply an artistic filter to your video in real-time.”
As for Facebook Stories, the social network noted the popularity of Instagram Stories, as well as feedback from users requesting ways to share content other than having it appear permanently on their Timelines. Photos and videos added to Facebook Stories will disappear within 24 hours (unless the user adds them to News Feed).
Users who are part of the test group can access Facebook Stories via the Your Story icon on the left side of the Stories bar atop their News Feeds.
Finally, Direct is aimed at allowing users to share individual photos and videos with specific friends on a temporary basis.
Content shared via Direct can be viewed up to two times, and it will disappear 24 hours after being viewed by friends.
The Facebook spokesperson added:
We’ve been testing the new camera in a few other countries for a while, and our goal for this next round of tests in these countries is to learn how people use all three parts of the new camera system, and we hope that eventually we’ll be able to show these sorts of features to the entire community of people on Facebook.
If the social network officially rolls out Facebook Stories, it would be its latest feature to mimic the functionality of Snapchat Stories, joining Messenger Day, WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories.