Facebook adds ephemeral Stories and 3D camera effects to its main app, yet another Snapchat clone

Facebook is adding its version of ephemeral stories to the main Facebook app on iPhone and iPad from today. Adding another to the list of Snapchat rip-offs, a strip of profile pics from your friends will now appear along the top of the main feed. Tap to view their recent story updates; all photos and videos are automatically deleted after 24 hours.

Posting your own photos rips off more iconic Snapchat features, including animated 3D camera effects and face filters, stickers, the ability to add text or doodles, and more. You can post to all friends or selectively share to just a few people when posting a particular pic. Here’s how to make a story …

With the new Facebook update, you can make a story by swiping right on the news feed, opening the new camera (top left of the screen), or tapping ‘Your Story’ in the bar at the top.

Add text, annotations or turn on 3D face-recognition filters to customize the photo you took. The experience is very similar to Snapchat but the face filters include some novel, fresh, options. See the different filters available by swiping up or down. Just like Snapchat, Facebook will eventually roll out sponsored filters which promote a new product or film.

The Facebook camera is packed with dozens of effects like masks, frames and interactive filters that you can apply to your photos and videos. Reactive effects let you interact with dynamic objects— like falling snow—and style effects apply an artistic filter to your video in real time, letting you turn your everyday selfie into a Picasso-style work of art.

The top row of circular profile pics echoes Instagram’s implementation of Stories; Facebook will use algorithms to decide who to show first and last. The Stories feature sits alongside the News Feed, so Facebook isn’t removing anything — just adding yet another sharing option. The News Feed is permanent, Stories is ephemeral.

Facebook is also rolling out a new private sharing feature called ‘Direct’. Direct is meant for situations when you want to send individual photos and videos to specific people, like close friends and family for a limited time. This is kind of like the main Snapchat messaging experience, where you send a visual message to someone that is intentionally short-lived. With Direct, recipients can view it once, replay it once, and write a reply. The media is deleted immediately after the conversation ends.

All the new features are rolling out worldwide gradually, so don’t panic if you can’t see the new camera or Stories just yet. If you don’t already have Facebook, download it for free from the App Store.

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