Facebook Stories Enables Public Sharing in Bid to Compete with Snapchat

Despite the fact that it is pretty much just a clone of the much-loved app Snapchat, Facebook's Stories feature hasn't exactly gained the same traction. I rarely see any friends posting stories when I open up Facebook, and even when they do appear it is generally the same 1 or 2 users making use of the feature, and many others have reported finding the same.

However Facebook's latest addition to the feature may finally give it the boost it needs to compete with its more established competition, as they quietly rolled out an update a few weeks back which allows for these stories to be shared publicly to followers, rather than being limited only to friends.

The update rather amusingly went largely undetected until very recently, first being pointed out by social media researcher Carlos Gill before a Facebook spokesperson finally confirmed the update to TechCrunch, telling the publication,  “This is something we rolled out a few weeks ago. The Public setting allows your Followers to see your story, in addition to your Friends.”

Given how public-sharing platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have emerged as a source of new stars and celebrities, Facebook are likely hoping that by enabling Stories users to do the same, they too can jump on this bandwagon. Instagram's equivalent feature has already performed well in this regard, but its parent platform does lend itself to this task better than Facebook, which lest we forget started life as a way to connect with friends, not celebrities.

To make your Stories available to the public-at-large, tap the three dots in the upper right of the Stories interface to open the 'more' menu; from there, simply open 'Edit Story Settings'  and select 'Public' rather than 'Friends'. Any content posted to your Stories in the past 24 hours will then be made public, as will any subsequent posts.

Due to reported engagement figures on publicly shared Stories, there is as-yet-unproven speculation that Facebook may be prioritising these over those posted by friends, but given how few people seem to be using the feature this is likely not an issue. In fact, seeing more regular usage of the feature, even if it is by celebrities rather than friends, may encourage the average Facebook user to try it out for themselves.

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