Here we go again.
Facebook is copying another key Snapchat feature: Stories, short user-generated photo and video montages that disappear after 24 hours.
The new feature is only live in Ireland, the same market where Facebook is testing a few other Snapchat-like features, and a company spokesperson referred to it as a "test."
But that test may not last long. “We're hoping to bring Stories ... to the rest of the world in the coming months,” the spokesperson added.
Instagram already copied Stories back in August and has seen a lot of success with the product. Instagram claims 150 million people use it every day, which is a group as large as Snapchat’s entire user base.
Given the way Instagram is thinking about Stories, it really shouldn't be a surprise that parent-company Facebook is adopting it, too. Instagram product boss Kevin Weil recently told Recode that Stories is a format he expects a lot of people will start using, similar to how the hashtag (which started on Twitter) is now widespread online.
“[We] built on a format that Snapchat invented,” Weil admitted in late December. “We believe that format will be universal.”
Still, Facebook has not been subtle about its efforts to stomp out Snapchat. It spent most of 2016 cloning Snapchat features, and Stories is yet another sign that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is worried about Snapchat's rise.
A report from The Information last April found that “original sharing” on Facebook was declining in 2015; the same thing was happening on Instagram. Adding Stories to Instagram appears to have helped fix that problem, and perhaps it will do the same for Facebook.
It’s hard to find a silver lining here for Snap, Snapchat’s parent company. CEO Evan Spiegel is about to take the company public and user growth expectations will no doubt be a metric investors look at. To have Facebook and Instagram — which dwarf Snapchat in size with nearly 1.2 billion and 300 million daily users respectively, compared to 150 million for Snapchat — cloning Snap’s best products at every turn must be unsettling.
Here’s Facebook’s promo video for the new feature.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.