Taking it's cue from Snapchat, Facebook is adding new ways to share photos and videos through its mobile app — including the addition of Facebook Stories. But before testing out this new post format, you may be wondering can you block people from seeing your Facebook Story? Those of us with a wide ranging Facebook network of friends know there are just certain things you just don't want to share with your extended family, boss, and all those high school buddies you haven't spoken to for ten years. Facebook Stories' privacy settings are limited, so even though the posts only last 24 hours and are separated from the main News Feed, users should think twice before sharing something that was not intended for all their friends.
The ephemeral feature pioneered by Snapchat, and adopted by Instagram in August of 2016, has been wildly successful across social media platforms. Insta's daily Story users hit 150 million this year (though Snapchat's Story views have declined in general), so it's no wonder Facebook is eager to jump on the bandwagon and incorporate the visual feature for its 1.65 billion users. With the new update, announce on March 28, Facebook is adding two features that auto-delete when they time-out: Stories, the visual slideshows that are only available for 24-hours, and a personal messaging feature called "Direct." With Direct, users can share individual photos or videos privately with specific friends. Like Snapchat's messages, once the content is played, it automatically disappears without a trace (unless you take a screenshot, that is).
Facebook's Stories feature works much the same way as those run by Snapchat and Instagram, so the social media savvy will feel right at home when trying out the new way to post. To create a Story on Facebook, tap the "Your Story" icon in the Story bar located above the main News Feed, or open the redesigned in-app camera with a swipe to the right. Scroll through different filters (including animated ones, like you might find in Snapchat) by swiping up and down, and create your perfect image or video. When you tap to share the image or video, you have the option to send it "Direct," post it to the News Feed, or add it to your Story (or a combination of all three).
So who exactly can see your Stories? Similar to how Instagram Stories are only accessible to your followers, the default setting for your Facebook Story is "friends." The Story will be unavailable to those you have blocked on Facebook. Unlike with Instagram, where you can hide stories from specific users, the only way to hide your story on Facebook is to block the person. You can, however, keep track of exactly who has viewed each entry to your story.
As The Verge points out, this broad viewer base, may end up being a problem for Facebook Stories. "Ultimately, Facebook stories face the same basic challenge that the larger News Feed does — context collapse, or the idea that sharing something with everyone you know discourages sharing generally," warns The Verge. "It’s the reason that original sharing on Facebook is said to have declined: when you know that anything you post might be seen by your boss and your mom and your ex, you often choose not to share at all." The update is steadily rolling out globally over the next few weeks, so users will get a chance to try out the new feature, and only time will tell if users see Stories as a value add.