Late last week, Facebook began to roll out the latest feature for its Messenger app, Messenger Day. As previously teased, it lets you take photos, decorate them with various doodles and filters, and then add them to a clump (or “Day”) of shots that you can share with others on your Messenger list. Your Day will then self-destruct after 24 hours.
If that sounds like Snapchat’s Stories feature to you, that’s because that’s mostly what it is. If you haven’t been paying attention lately, this is far from the first time Facebook has copied features from its younger, newly-public rival. As this chart from Statista shows, Messenger Day is just the latest example — Facebook has worked Stories-like and photo-filter features into not just its main app and Messenger, but also WhatsApp and Instagram.
Notably, Facebook is scrambling to box out Snapchat with apps that all have significantly larger user bases. This is meaningful in a few ways: It validates Snap’s camera-centric vision of messaging, in a sense, but it’s also forcing Snap to convince investors it can sidestep its much-better-funded rival (and former suitor) in the long term.
At the same time, if Facebook can’t copy well — and while Instagram Stories seems to be a hit, there are reasons to think Messenger Day isn’t the best direction for what was a fairly pure messaging app — its mimicry may not mean much to the people who actually use its services.
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