Facebook begins testing Stories on the desktop

Great news, folks. Facebook Stories, the shameless Snapchat clone that sits above the News Feed on Facebook’s mobile app, is now rolling out to Facebook’s desktop site. Here, the Stories feature is no longer at the top of the page, but is instead off to the right side, where it’s at least a bit less intrusive. A small question mark icon appears in the Stories module, as well, which will explain the feature’s purpose, when hovered over with your cursor.

The explanation simply states that Stories consist of photos and video that are visible for 24 hours before they disappear.

Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch the Stories launch on desktop is still considered a test, but notes that a wider rollout is expected soon.

The company chose to bring Stories to Facebook, after seeing its success on Instagram, where Stories had debuted in summer 2016.

With the first five months, Instagram Stories soared to 150 million daily users. It now has 250 million daily users, compared with Snapchat’s 166 million. Half of the businesses on Instagram created a story in the past month, Facebook also announced this week, and Instagram’s average usage has climbed to 32 minutes per day for those under 25, and 24 minutes per day for those 25 and up, it said.

The feature arrived on Facebook at the beginning of 2017, initially in Ireland before expanding to other countries, including the U.S.

The company has credited Snapchat with pioneering the visual communication format, but believes the pivot into Stories goes beyond simply copying a competitor’s popular app. Like Facebook’s News Feed – a format that went on to become the standard across social apps – Stories are a new way to share. That’s led to the format being broadly adopted across the industry.

Facebook itself has added Stories to Instagram, Messenger, and its flagship app. It even tried a Stories-like feature in WhatsApp. Elsewhere, Stories is inspiring redesigns of other top apps, including most recently, Tinder, Match, and Skype.

However, on Facebook, the feature hasn’t seen as much traction.

In fact, there were so few people using Stories on Facebook’s mobile app, that the company in April began to display grayed-out icons of your most frequently contacted friends instead of blank spaces in the Stories feature that no one much was using.

It’s unclear that bringing Facebook Stories to the desktop web will impact its usage significantly. Perhaps, after all, there are only so many places users want to post this sort of ephemeral content, and for the time being, people have chosen Instagram. It makes one wonder at which point Facebook will acknowledge this, and choose to swap in or sync Instagram stories to Facebook’s Stories feature instead.

Facebook hasn’t yet confirmed what percentage of users are seeing Stories on the desktop, but it’s not broadly available. However, we are aware of users seeing the module outside the U.S.