Next up in Facebook’s quest to clone and undermine Snapchat is WhatsApp: The popular messaging app launched a new feature called Status Monday that is basically a Snapchat Stories clone, with a few Whatsapp-specific tweaks.
The new feature lets uses share photos and videos with their contacts, complete with captions, drawings and stickers. Images disappear after 24 hours, and viewers can quickly tap through them to see what their friends have been up to.
That’s all very much like Snapchat’s Stories format, but WhatsApp is giving Status a privacy twist. The app, which is known for its end-to-end encryption of chat messages, is also encrypting each and every images shared. This means that WhatsApp, or anyone else listening in, won’t be able to figure out what anyone is sharing with their friends.
WhatsApp isn’t the first Facebook-owned app to liberally borrow from Snapchat. Instagram added its own Stories feature last August. At the time, Instagram’s head of product Kevin Weil admitted freely that the feature was inspired by Snapchat, telling Variety during an interview: “Stories is going to be a format that a lot of experiences are going to adopt over time.”
Weil wasn’t wrong, at least when it comes to Facebook’s apps. In January, the company began to test sharing Stories via its main app. Now, WhatsApp is using the same format as well. And borrowing from Snapchat seems to be working for Facebook; the company revealed earlier this year that more than 150 million Instagram users look at Stories every day.