With new public privacy setting, Facebook Stories not just for friends anymore

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Alexander Kirch / 123RF
Facebook Stories are going public — the social media platform recently rolled out the ability for anyone to see the self-deleting daily logs, instead of just sharing among friends. Public Facebook Stories are now available for users that allow public followers.

Carlos Gil, a social media researcher for BMC Software, first spotted the feature over the weekend and Facebook confirmed that the option rolled out earlier in July. The feature is only available for users that allow public followers but gives the Stories feature an audience beyond just Facebook friends. Facebook’s public Pages have yet to get the feature and the platform says it does not have a timeline for when the feature might be coming, if it ever migrates over to Pages.

The public sharing option is available inside the settings, accessible by viewing the story and then tapping that “…” icon. The “Edit Story Settings” now includes Public on the list of privacy settings for profiles that allow public followers. Any daily stories will then be publicly visible unless the privacy setting is changed back.

Like Stories among friends, users who share publicly will see how many people have viewed their Story. Users won’t see the names of viewers who aren’t friends, however, though they will be included in the view count.

Facebook launched Stories earlier this year, with obvious inspiration from Snapchat’s feature by the same name. Instagram also launched a similar feature in August 2016. Unlike the typical news feed posts, Stories disappear after 24 hours, creating a daily visual log. Inside Facebook, Stories don’t pop up in the news feed but are accessible by tapping each friends’  Stories from the top of the app.

Despite Snapchat launching the feature first, Instagram Stories quickly gained traction, reporting more than 200 million users in April, overtaking Snapchat’s 150 million users. Facebook has not shared data on the number of users for Facebook Stories but early reports suggest the feature has not gained users nearly as quickly as Instagram or Snapchat.

While Facebook Stories appear to be slower to grow, the addition of public sharing could offer a boost — or determine the future of the feature — as social media stars, as well as professionals, have the option of using the new feature.

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