Last October, Facebook extended the usage (and flexibility) of Instagram Stories — the Snapchat-like feature that lets you patch together photos and videos into a slide show — by making it easy to directly post a Story to Facebook. Now Facebook is looking at how to bring WhatsApp into the fold.
The company is now running a test to let users post their Instagram Stories directly to WhatsApp, as a WhatsApp Status, a corresponding Snapchat-like feature in the latter messaging app where decorated photos, videos and GIFs can be posted with encryption, disappearing after 24 hours. An Instagram Story posted as a WhatsApp Status also becomes encrypted like the rest of WhatsApp.
“We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you,” a spokesperson said.
From what we understand, the feature is currently being tested with a small number of users.
It’s based on publicly available code that WhatsApp makes available to integrate WhatsApp messaging with third-party apps. Users get an option to tap to share to WhatsApp from the Instagram sharing screen, but they still have to press “send” in WhatsApp to post the story.
The reader who tipped us off on it is based in Brazil, where a local blog has also been reporting several sightings in the wild, one of which is pictured here, with the Instagram Story on the left, and the WhatsApp Status cross-posted on the right (note the Instagram icon in the corner).
Encouraging Story posting between Instagram and WhatsApp Status is notable because it gives a little more social media spin to WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in 2014 for $19 billion with the explicit promise that it would stay independent of Facebook. As it happens, the new feature that’s being tested does bypass Facebook’s flagship apps completely.
Together, this could all help Facebook grow its overall engagement and traffic footprint. Conversely, it also could spell one more way to destabilize Snapchat and potentially any other app that has any lesser infrastructure to keep your content getting seen by the people you know, whatever app they happen to be using.
We’ll update this post as we learn more.