With the success of apps such as Snapchat, which allows a user to post images or videos for a short duration, companies are beginning to recognise the value of disappearing data. In a world where it is becoming more and more difficult to control one’s digital presence, the permanence of leaving a digital trail is posing more restrictions for people. However Facebook are currently testing a feature which will allow users to post a status for a certain amount of time, and then disappear. The current options of expiration are said to be: 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 2 days and 7 days. It is worth noting that although the posts may disappear from your Facebook profile, they will not be deleted from the servers for at least 90 days. However it could still prove to be quite an interesting and useful feature in a variety of areas.
Facebook have been known to release and test new features in the past, in order to assess the user reaction across the world. They released an app called ‘Poke’ which was similar to Snapchat, but failed after only twelve days. They also released ‘Slingshot,’ a photo-sharing app earlier this year which again mirrored the concept of Snapchat. Neither of these apps could compete with the success of the original.
After Snapchats refusal to be bought by Facebook, they have had to continuously think of innovative ways to compete, thus the release of their new feature. It draws on the disappearing data element, which looks to be slightly more useful than their previous failed attempts. It could work out to be another marketing technique for companies, for example they could share discount codes and secret offers temporarily. It would also make it possible for organisations to identify just how many people are using their Facebook at a specific time of day and allow them to measure interaction. Alongside Google Analytics, this could prove to be a useful tool and allow them to target their most loyal customers specifically by providing them with perks such as viewing sneak previews of products and future collections. There are ample opportunities for this new feature, and if successful, many other social networks may follow suit.
This could also turn Facebook into a platform of interaction for their younger demographic, who seem to be the ones that are utilising apps such as Snapchat the most. Brands can target a whole new audience, showing them behind the scenes and maximising the feature as they do with Snapchat. The feature is only currently available on the iOS app in New Zealand, but could easily progress depending on it’s popularity.