Trending News: This New Facebook Feature Just Has Us Shaking Our Heads
Why Is This Important?
When Facebook experiments with its core functionality, a billion users sit up and take notice.
is testing a new feature with a select group of people that lets users
set an expiry time for their updates — ranging from one hour to seven
days. It’s just the latest in a long line of experiments by the world’s
biggest social network to fend off up-and-coming rivals.
If you thought Facebook’s Slingshot app was the last time Mark Zuckerberg’s company would try and copy the Snapchat
approach, think again. A small number of users running Facebook’s
iPhone app have noticed a new expiration date option for their posts —
status updates, photos or any other type of content can be set to
automatically disappear after a set time (between one hour and seven
days).Facebook often runs small-scale experiments to see how a
feature plays out with users, and not all of them make it into the
social network proper. With that in mind, the disappearing posts idea
may itself disappear, but it’s interesting to see the world’s largest
social network looking to copy the key feature of one of its biggest
The phenomenal growth of Snapchat (which Facebook offered
$3 billion for last year) has been in part due to the ephemerality and
impermanence of the images and videos posted there. Particularly among
younger users, the ability to post something that isn’t going to stay on
the web forever has proven to be a big draw. Facebook has tried to copy
the functionality with its own Slingshot app, while the Facebook-owned
Instagram has a similar tool called Bolt (currently available in a few select markets outside the U.S.).
with more than 1 billion users on its books, Facebook bosses know they
can’t afford to be complacent — the smaller, more mobile-focused apps in
the marketplace have the potential to steal away chunks of Facebook’s
core audience very quickly indeed.
The social network has confirmed to The Next Web
that it is running a “pilot” program with expiring posts, and there’s a
brief Help page on the topic too. If the feature does become an
official one, you’ll be able to post those late-night pictures from the
dancefloor safe in the knowledge that they’ll be gone by the time you
wake up… unless someone has saved them in the meantime, of course.
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