We all know about the latest feature Instagram has
snagged from Snapchat rolled out: Instagram Stories. It lets you share the smaller, not-quite-Insta-worthy moments of your day through a story feed of customizable photos and videos with a 24-hour shelf life, that won’t ruin your grid’s aesthetic. Sounding familiar?
What’s way more interesting than the idea-theft (which is abundant in this Internet Age—just ask local company Crywolf about Zara) is that Instagram isn’t bothering to pretend otherwise. In fact, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told a writer at Techcrunch that Snapchat “deserves all the credit” for the concept of Instagram Stories. Which, duh. But we didn’t think he’d say it!
“This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it,” he was quoted as saying. Systrom goes on to cite ways this has been done before: Facebook invented feeds. Twitter invented @ usernames and hashtags and those features are now commmonplace across platforms. His point: It’s not about where the concept came from, but where you take it.
There are some mini-differences between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories though—while Instagram has a highlighter or market-style drawing, it hasn’t yet added any geo—or even puppy!—filters. And while that distinction alone is enough to keep us using Snapchat to send those super-cute selfies to bae, it might not be enough to make Snapchat the more desirable story platform. Some have also pointed outthat, in Instagram Stories, things are simplified. The covert screen-swiping to reveal additional filters and features has been replaced by clear labelling, meaning users who were never able to master Snapchat (read: non-millennials) will likely find Instagram Stories easy to use.
Naturally, celebs have acted as early adopters, testing the update as it’s become available. Some stars, like Chloë Grace Moretz and Demi Lovato, took to it immediately, while others, like Hailey Baldwin and Shay Mitchell, played around with the tool but didn’t seem to be sold. But it does make sense that the rich and famous would gravitate towards Instagram Stories, where fans can easily find them, rather than Snapchat, which requires you to know the username in order to add a person. (Maybe that will change in a future Snap update?)
There’s also another Insta-update that has celebs fiddling with their feeds. The app is slowly trying out way to moderate commenting on posts offering accounts with “high volume comment threads” to filter comments, or disable them altogether. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, this is probably how Taylor Swift managed all the nasty comments flooding her feed post-FAMOUS Snapchat video reveal (while Leslie Jones was stuck with her Twitter trolls for days).
A handful of the Insta-famous have been sharing the deets. Chrissy Teigen posted a photo on Twitter as she added words she wanted to be omitted from comments on her own photos, including “whore”, “slut” and “trump”. Kylie Jenner is one of the first to opt to disable comments altogether. (However, her reasoning is less about preventing cyber-bullying and more about cutting down on the insane amounts of self-promotion that immediately inundates her every post.) Apparently, the ability to disable comments will be rolling out to all users soon, which is a huge step forward for cyber safety and anti-bullying practices, and will certainly come in handy for people like FLARE contributor Jessi Cruickshank who found herself in the eye of a hateful online storm after irking the Shawn Mendes army.
Is Twitter taking notes?