Facebook Stories are… well, they’re a lot.
The feature is the latest and most drastic step in the Snap-ification of Facebook and its properties, as Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp have all added the ability to share quick, ephemeral image and video slices of your life with your friends and followers.
That’s all well and good — it’s fun to share the fun moments of your life with your closest friends. But unlike the photo-centric Instagram, where Stories have been a huge success, the feature is an odd fixture at the top of our mobile Facebook home screens.
It comes down to audience. Chances are, you probably have some friends out of the 1.74 billion monthly active Facebook mobile users you don’t want seeing your Story shenanigans — your grandma, for instance, doesn’t need to see all those filtered selfies.
But Facebook doesn’t give us any true way to pick and choose who views our Stories. Even when you change your privacy settings for Posts to share with “Only Me,” all your friends can still see the Stories you share.
A few solutions (kind of)
You can easily share your stories with individual friends and groups with the Direct option. It’s simple: just snap your pic or take a funny video, throw on a filter or two, smash the paper airplane Direct logo, and choose exactly to whom you want to DM your masterpiece.
You can also share your Story as a post, where you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly who will be able to see your next great Power Ranger selfie vid. Just select the “post” option and refine your audience by choosing from the menu.
But that takes away the immediacy and ephemeral fun of Stories, since the post will live on your wall until the death of the Facebook or the end of time, whichever comes first.
Developing a more targeted method for Story sharing is a problem Facebook needs to solve. Instagram and Snapchat both allow users to restrict who can see their updates, and with Facebook’s much larger user base, one might argue the need is more pressing. The jury’s out on how many people are actually using the feature — we’ve been seeing more ghostly profiles filling up our Story feeds than actual content — and the issue of an all-encompassing audience could be part of the problem.
Facebook reps told us the team behind Stories might consider changing up the system to give us more control over who can see our Stories in the future, but for now you’re stuck with the one size fits all model.
The Stories feature already made the time-honored tradition of creeping much less anonymous — and unless it changes, it could make sharing bug-eyed filtered selfies less fun, too.