Want to know the backstory? Check out my article from last August, just after Instagram had copied Snapchat’s famous Stories feature.

Instagram have done it again. Up until now, Snapchat were bossing it when it came to their lenses, it was their final saving grace for keeping Snapchat users firmly on the platform. However, Instagram have just released ‘Face Filters’. What are these? Instagram’s version of Snapchat Lenses. See my ‘Why Do I Use Snapchat’ post for some excellent examples from the team. 😜

One thing to note is that Instagram’s Face Filters are a bit toned down compared to some of Snapchat’s filters. As TechCrunch put it, “the filters are less aggressive and transformative than Snapchat’s”. So instead of completely warping your face, Instagram’s approach currently seems to be more about adding decorations to your selfies. Perhaps one way they’re differentiating themselves from the competition.

It’s going to be interesting to see how often Instagram updates their selection of Face Filters, and whether they’re going to keep up with Snapchat’s ever changing collection. Currently Snapchat incorporate new lenses daily, mixing up the selection with some old favourites. At the moment it’s unclear how Instagram are going to do this, but we’ve been promised more soon, with Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) stating this is “just the beginning”.

Along with the filters, Instagram have added a new option (already available on Snapchat) allowing Stories to be played in reverse.

There are some unique features that have been added to Instagram Stories however. These include a new eraser brush, which allows you to remove elements you’ve added to your story. So you can rub out bits to reveal the photo underneath for example.

Then there is a rather exciting new tool, that even I, a Snapchat die hard, are kind of excited about. Hashtag stickers! Okay I’ve got to admit, this is pretty cool. You simply add a sticker like normal, but these hashtag stickers are special. Anyone viewing your story will be able to tap on there and see all the images in that hashtag’s feed. (Another way to spot if shadowbanning is happening?) It’s interesting to see how Instagram are going to put these stickers to use, and whether they’re using this as a method of directing users to more stories, tailored by hashtags. Perhaps Instagram wants to push Stories to the forefront of the platform and move away from their traditional format.