WhatsApp launches Status, an encrypted Snapchat Stories clone

Snapchat has had a feature like this, dubbed Live Stories, since 2014.

"When WhatsApp launched almost 8 years ago, it started as an app for sharing status updates, where people could type a short line of text to let their friends know what they were up to", according to a blog post from the company.

WhatsApp is gearing up to give Snapchat a run for its money with its latest feature, simply called Status. Sending media to specific friends is still done through message threads.

WhatsApp says the status posts will be end-to-end encrypted, just as its messages are. WhatsApp is Facebook's second product to roll the feature out globally. WhatsApp Status updates you create are visible to your contacts by default, though you can change them to My contacts except. or Only share with. as well. But the company tells me it saw so many people quickly updating these statuses to communicate in real-time that it pivoted to chat, but always kept the away Statuses.

But it's also a sign that the Facebook-owned app is expanding the amount of features it has, just as Instagram, another Facebook subsidiary, has been doing over the years.

This new Status feature closely apes Instagram and Snapchat stories in implementation and is part of Facebook's seeming mission to take down Snapchat by subsuming and offering all its features to its own much broader user base. It seems as though Status is WhatsApp's equivalent of this. TechCrunch first reported that Instagram Stories was stealing Snapchat usage and lowering its view counts, according to analytics providers and social celebrity managers.

As on Snapchat, WhatsApp stories are posted from an in-app camera. If these users aren't already on Snapchat, they won't even see Status as a clone. But late previous year WhatsApp adapted to the visual communication age with the launch of additional camera features.

  • Arturo Norris