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Instagram just blatantly ripped off one of Snapchat’s most popular features

Reuters/Toru Hanai
Instagram’s newest feature is a direct shot at Snapchat.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Snapchat is a photo sharing app popular with young people. Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, is also a photo sharing app popular with young people. And with similar advertising-based strategies to make money, it’s obvious why the two are competitors.

But Instagram’s newest feature is such a clear ripoff of Snapchat, it’s almost admirable. Everything from the name (Instagram Stories), to the design of the camera button, annotations tools, and the ability to share photos to friends for only 24 hours. The company announced the new feature today (Aug. 2) and it will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks to Instagram users on iOS and Android.

Snapchat Stories launched in Oct. 2013, and has quickly become one of the primary ways Snapchat users share photos and videos. Snapchat says users watch 10 billion videos a day, and Bloomberg reported that a third of those views originate from Snapchat Stories.

Given its popularity, it’s no wonder Instagram copied Snapchat Stories. Instagram is also probably Facebook’s best shot at competing with Snapchat. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel rebuked Mark Zuckerberg’s $3 billion acquisition offer in 2013, and Snapchat’s only gotten more popular since then. Young people use Instagram, and advertisers are interested in the social media service too—RBC Capital Markets’ online marketing survey in March 2016, 71% of advertisers said they were interested in Instagram. Snapchat was a distant number two, at 45%, but interest grew from 36% just six months earlier. By adding Snapchat-esque services to promote more casual photo sharing, Facebook can combat declining numbers in users sharing original photos and content too, as Buzzfeed notes.

But, whether Instagram users adopt Instagram Stories is still up for debate. In Sept. 2015, Instagram relaunched Instagram Direct, a private messaging feature within Instagram. But, since then, the feature hasn’t been too popular with users and has failed to differentiate itself from other private messaging features, like Snapchat’s messaging system or Twitter’s Direct Messages.

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