Written by Nathasha De Alwis
29 Aug, 2019 | 11:10 am
Colombo (News 1st): Facebook is yet again trying their luck with a rip off of Snapchat centred around Instagram. According to foreign media, Facebook is now developing a new messaging app called Threads that is meant to promote constant, intimate sharing between users and their closest friends.
For years now, the comparison between Snapchat and Facebook’s constant updates of its apps have caused a lot of tense feelings, laughter and thought within marketing circles.
For many, the similarities and differences between Facebook and Snapchat are very clear. However, Facebook’s growing strength has shown that it is coming closer and closer to Snapchat’s shadow. It has grown to the point that some marketers and advertisers have called Facebook a copycat, simply trying to steal Snapchat’s quickly growing user base.
In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg met with Snapchat’s CEOs where he was described to be making light threats that Facebook was going to take the market from them. Later it was announced that Facebook had produced a new Snapchat-like platform called “Poke.” Poke, which was coded in only 12 days, turned out to be a flop and was discontinued 2 years later, in 2014.
In 2013, Zuckerberg met with Snapchat CEOs yet again but with a deal. A $3 billion dollar deal, which was subsequently declined. Facebook left the meeting with its tail between its legs and what seems to be a grudge.
In 2014, Facebook launched another Snapchat-like platform, but with small changes and some new features. This too did not do so well and died a year later. In 2015 and 2016, Facebook rolled out 2 different tests for temporary messaging in Facebook’s own messaging platform, Messenger. The last test became a permanent addition to the messenger.
In 2016, Instagram, which was bought by the Social Media powerhouse, rolled out Instagram stories. Following in the footsteps of Snapchat’s identically named feature “stories,” people would be able to share photos and videos to all their followers for an exact period of 24 hours. Instagram also rolled out temporary messaging.
In 2017, Facebook made the biggest move in its war against Snapchat. The social network widely released Facebook Stories, a near-identical clone of rival Snapchat’s popular feature, also called Stories. The feature gave people the ability to post a string of videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours.
In December 2017 Instagram tested a standalone app for private messages called Direct, a first step toward possibly toward removing messaging features from the core app. Direct, which opens to the camera was yet another assault on the famous app Snapchat. However, in 2019, Facebook shut down the app without any explanations.
Threads, which is designed as a companion app to Instagram, invites users to automatically share their location, speed, and battery life with friends, along with more typical text, photo, and video messages using Instagram’s creative tools. The app, which is designed for sharing with your “close friends” list on Instagram, is now being tested internally at Facebook.
In May, Instagram ceased work on Direct, a standalone messaging app that it had been developing since late 2017. At the time, executives said that beta testers were frustrated about having to switch between Instagram and a second app whenever they wanted to send a message. Instagram employees who work on messaging were moved to the Facebook Messenger team earlier this year as part of a broader consolidation between the parent company and its prized acquisition.
A messaging app built around your close friends might be more popular. That’s what Snapchat already is today for a healthy portion of its users. Reports have indicated that the average Snapchat user spends more time inside the app than the average Instagram user does. For Facebook and Instagram, which have long coveted Snapchat’s strong engagement among younger users, Threads could represent another effort to chip away at their rival’s appeal.
Screenshots reviewed show an app that’s designed to promote constant, automatic sharing between users and the people on their “close friends” list on Instagram. At the moment, Threads does not display your real-time location — instead, it might say something like a friend is “on the move,” according to sources familiar with the matter.
You can also update your status manually, with statuses appearing in the main feed along with messages. It’s the latest effort to automate status sharing using mobile phone sensors and one-tap status sharing.
The core of Threads appears to be messaging, and it looks very similar to the existing messaging product inside Instagram. Messages from your friends appear in a central feed, with a green dot indicating which of your friends are currently active. If your friend has posted a story recently, you can view that from inside Threads as well. Threads also has a camera, which you can use to capture photos and videos and send them to your close friends.
It’s unclear when Threads might launch. Facebook might end development before shipping the app to the general public, as it did with Direct. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in March that he sees private messaging as the future of the company. Threads appear to represent the company’s latest effort to make that vision a reality.
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