Instagram Adds Snapchat-Like Features in Social Media Battle

Facebook tried and failed to acquire Snapchat, and now Facebook-owned Instagram is having a go at beating Snapchat at its own game. The photo-sharing company just debuted Instagram Stories, which in format is very similar to Snapchat Stories: users can share photos and videos that last no more than 24 hours. This might spark a battle between the two apps, which have never been in direct competition. Both mobile apps are now trying to increase digital advertising, which could bring the issue to a head.

The New York Times quotes Instagram co-founder/chief executive Kevin Systrom as acknowledging that “other companies deserve all the credit” for pioneering disappearing photos/videos, but that this has been “an area of interest for Instagram for some time.”


“Our mission has always been to capture and share the world’s moments, not just the world’s most beautiful moments,” he said. “Stories will alleviate a ton of the pressure people have to post their absolute best stuff.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Instagram Stories, which “appear in a row at the top of a user’s feed,” reveal, upon tapping, “an array of photos that other users posted over the last 24 hours, from oldest to newest.” Instagram doesn’t plan to show ads within Stories for now, and there is no option to “like” or “comment” on Stories, another feature similar to Snapchat.

Snapchat Stories acts as a “24-hour photo and video diary viewable only by those who follow the user,” but also collects photos and videos from many users that are relevant to a specific event and “stitches them together to form a narrative,” complete with ads. Instagram Stories acts similarly like a 24-hour diary for chosen followers.

A Piper Jaffray survey of 6,530 U.S. teens in April revealed that 28 percent named Snapchat as their “top social network,” with Instagram at 27 percent. That contrasts with a survey six months ago when 33 percent of teens chose Instagram and only 19 percent picked Snapchat. After Instagram implemented an “algorithmically driven feed” to promote more sharing, users have been “posting more photos and spending more time in the app,” according to Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook purchased Instagram, which has 500 million users, in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock. Snapchat, which was founded in 2011, now has more than 150 million daily users and is valued at around $19 billion.

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