WhatsApp Status now offers photo-based status updates taken by your phone’s camera, as well as the ability to add text, emojis, decorations, and more!
This isn’t your grandmother’s social media anymore, or at least that’s what one company is hoping to project with its newest worldwide rollout. Facebook-owned WhatsApp launched a new feature that looks, walks, and quacks a lot like Snapchat’s stories, making this perhaps another Zuckerberg attempt at chipping away at the stronghold that Snapchat has on the younger market share.
Where Snapchat is the domain of teenagers and celebrities sharing images with puppy faces or butterflies superimposed around their heads, WhatsApp has typically been seen as a more serious, almost business-minded tool. Of course, it’s not just for business, which is why Facebook may be seeking to engage the WhatsApp user base with a more socially viable tool. As of the latest launch, WhatsApp Status now offers photo-based status updates taken by your phone’s camera, as well as the ability to add text, emojis, decorations, and more. The updates feed out to your connected friends then disappear after 24 hours, during which time they can comment and post on your updates.
Since Facebook-held platforms such as Instagram have already launched similar features, what does this have to do with Snapchat? The Verge highlights the coincidental timing that not only lines up with WhatsApp’s own launch anniversary, but also targets Snapchat’s upcoming IPO talks.
“If status updates were that important to the company, presumably it would have enhanced them some time in the past eight years. Instead, Snapchat arrived and began swallowing up large chunks of the younger demographic, instilling an existential terror in Facebook that has transformed its product roadmap over the past year.”
Snapchat has suffered its share of issues over the years, from hacking events to data breaches. Several related tools are now sitting firmly on a recently published list of more than seventy apps that contain dangerous security flaws. A quick Google peek at “snapchat hacking” serves up dozens of sites that offer to let you view anyone’s Snaps instantaneously and without downloading any software. Of course, the company is famous for some headline-worthy data breaches, including one that compromised the personal information of all of its employees.
Could it be that social media users want this kind of functionality, but want it from a source that has a somewhat better history of privacy and security? The millions of users who flocked to Instagram’s stories in the first few months of launch, enough to rival Snapchat’s numbers, might be the proof.