Joining Snapchat and Instagram Stories on the ephemeral life updates playground, Facebook Stories launches today, marking a historic shift for the way people can optimize their Facebook usage. The new camera feature offers two different ways to express your bad self: first, you can add Facebook camera effects similar to Snapchat's filters, which can add face-detecting masks, interactive art, and frames to your images of yourself. Second, you can upload these images and other pictures and videos to your Facebook Story, a brand new update in the same vein as the Instagram and Snapchat Stories that came before it.
While the update starts rolling out today, it hasn't yet reached all users. Your best bet for getting it faster is to update to the latest version of Facebook in your App Store. Once you get the update, you'll be able to see it in your main newsfeed on your mobile app, just under the search bar — your friends' Stories will appear in circles around their profile pictures in a row, similarly to the way that are displayed on Instagram. You'll be able to add to your own Story by tapping your profile circle, which will be on the far left. From there the update is super intuitive to use for anyone who has any experience with the Stories platforms, with a few slight differences in the Facebook version.
In the new Facebook camera, you can explore new camera effects in selfie mode or in the out-facing camera by swiping up and down to see the filters, rather than swiping right to left as other platforms do. Among the filters are partnerships with upcoming films like Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, and Smurfs: The Lost Village, as well collaborations with well-known digital artists.
If you choose to share the images with your friends, you can upload them — as well as other content you take using the new Facebook camera — to your Facebook Story. When you share it publicly, it will only be visible to people you are friends with as a default; however, you can choose to send it through Facebook's Direct to one or a group of people, the same way you can direct message content to other users on Instagram and Snapchat.
Once you post a video publicly, you'll be able to see who has viewed the content just like you can on other apps. If you want to block someone from viewing your Story, you have the options of only sending it to a select group of people, or blocking that user from your Facebook.
Facebook already has plans to roll out a ton of new filters, masks, and features to make Facebook Stories an engaging and fresh way to keep up with your friends — but have noted that, at least for now, it will not be offering the platform to any news outlets, as it's meant to be a shared space for friends.
"We hope that with the new Facebook camera, Stories and Direct, it will be easier than ever to see the world through each other’s eyes, and we can’t wait to see the photos and videos you create," shared Facebook Product Manager Connor Hayes in a press release March 28.
The rollouts should start today, so make sure your phone is updated to the latest version of Facebook, and keep an eye on your profile page for your friends' Story updates!