Facebook’s latest colonization of Instagram has begun. Facebook is testing the option to cross-post Stories to Instagram, instead of just vice-versa. Hopefully, that means the two apps will finally sync up the “already viewed” status of cross-posted Stories so we don’t have to watch re-runs any more.
If fully launched, the cross-posting feature could save social media managers and average users time while letting them maximize the views on the content they create. It could also give a little boost to the total Stories available on Instagram so its algorithm has more to choose from when ranking what it shows first.
With any luck, Facebook and Instagram will eventually sync up data about which Stories you’ve watched on either app, and avoid showing you exact copies of ones you’ve already seen. I made my case for this to Instagram’s leadership at a recent press dinner, noting how reruns waste hundreds of millions of people’s time and lead them to close Stories or the app altogether. I asked Facebook about that specifically; they declined to comment.
Creating two-way interoperability of Stories is a precursor to Facebook’s efforts to unify its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct chat features. That could extend end-to-end encryption across the apps, protecting messages from prying eyes. But there’s been government grumbling about how encryption could hide the activity of criminals, and some see intertwining the chat features as a way to make it harder for regulators to break up Facebook.