From Facebook Stories to GIF comment buttons, this week has been full of Facebook updates and announcements. While some think Facebook is only keeping up with Snapchat and Instagram, others view the launch as a major industry disruption and something bigger. In other news, Twitter has finally removed @ replies from tweet character counts.

More details on why this matters, and what else is happening in social media below.

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Facebook Stories Launches Worldwide

Users worldwide are now able to share multiple photos and videos as part of a visual collection atop the mobile News Feed. Your friends can view photos or videos from your story for 24 hours, and stories won’t appear on your Timeline or in News Feed unless you post them there, too.
Why does this matter?
Although Facebook Stories has not yet been released to brands, it would make sense for that to be the next move. Brands on Instagram have seen incredible engagement since its release in 2016. Look for the same to occur on Facebook very soon.

Twitter Stops Counting @ Replies Toward Character Limits

You will now be able to tweet at someone or a group of users without any penalty to your character count. Nearly a year ago, Twitter announced it would begin distancing itself from the requirement that all tweets could only contain 140 characters by no longer counting media.
Why does this matter?
With today’s change to replies, Twitter’s interface on web and mobile will now display those you’re replying to above the tweet text, instead of within the tweet, which frees up more characters for your thoughts. The move is aimed to make reading longer conversation threads easier.

Facebook Tests a GIF Button for Comments

Next week, Facebook will begin testing a GIF button that lets users post GIFs from services like Giphy as comments. The GIF comment button will initially only be available to a small percentage of Facebook users. It will work similarly to the GIF button in Facebook Messenger.
Why does this matter?
Facebook has avoided the subject of GIFs due to their concern it would detract from the News Feed experience. Facebook has even reportedly had support for GIFs for years, but delayed rolling it out for fear of disrupting the feed aesthetic. If the test is well received, look for the release to come quickly.

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