By Layan Damanhouri
WhatsApp recently launched what many consider a clone of Snapchat Stories. With nearly 1.2 billion monthly users around the world sending 60 billion messages daily, they now have access to WhatsApp Status: a new tab seeking to amp up its social media platform by allowing users to post short videos or snaps that disappear after 24 hours.
The feature also allows for customizing an image adding drawings and emojis to the post.
Broadcast messages and tweets in Saudi Arabia circulated on social media, instructing how to block the WhatsApp status feature to “preserve privacy”. One teenager sees it as a disadvantage to post private snaps of her life, deeming it a “formal” app for all her contacts, including colleagues and strangers.
Many others complained about the new update invading their private albums. The WhatsApp Status allows for choosing who to see one’s story in settings.
Others welcomed the idea, however. Those without Snapchat or Instagram accounts see it as a new opportunity to post such stories.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette, technology expert Abdullah Al-Sabe says, “When Instagram launched its stories feature, it negatively impacted the growth of Snapchat. It’s expected that WhatsApp Status will succeed as well.”
From August to November 2016, the average unique viewers per Snapchat Story decreased by about 40%, according to a report on TechCrunch.
The rate of downloading the Snapchat app has slowed as well, dropping from the top 3 apps last year.
“Children and their parents avoided Snapchat because of its often inappropriate content,” says Al-Sabe. “However, now there would be a chance for them to post stories with surveillance by their parents.”
WhatsApp messenger is owned by Facebook since 2014.