End-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal is rolling out a new Stories feature to all users on Android and iOS, the company announced on Monday. The official launch comes a few weeks after the company first began beta testing the feature with select users. Signal plans to release its Stories feature on desktop soon.
As with other platforms’ Stories features, Signal Stories allow users to create and share images, videos and texts that automatically disappear after 24 hours. Signal notes that like everything else in its app, Stories are end-to-end encrypted.
Signal users have the option to choose who can see their Stories by navigating to their settings. From there, you can choose to share your Stories with everyone in your phone’s contact list who uses Signal, anyone you’ve had a one-on-one conversation with in Signal or anyone whose message request you’ve accepted. You also have the option to manually hide your Story from specific people. If you would rather choose to share your Stories with a smaller subset of people, you can create a custom Story. In addition, you have the option to share Stories to existing group chats.
Like with read receipts for chats, you can decide if you want to send view receipts for Stories you look at and whether you see who’s seen your Stories. You can turn view receipts on or off in the Settings menu.
You may be wondering why a messaging app like Signal is adding Stories, but the company says Stories “happen to be one of the most common feature requests” among users, which is why it decided to add them to its platform.
“Stories have emerged to serve these specific functions and others in the broader communications landscape, and many of us have integrated them as one of the ways that we connect with one another,” the company said in a blog post. “That’s why they have a natural place in any messaging app, including Signal. People use them, people want them, so we’re providing a way to do stories privately. And without having to wade through a sea of ads.”
Signal is aware that not everyone will see Stories as a welcome addition to the app, which is why it’s offering an opt-out setting for the feature. If you’re not interested in seeing or posting Stories, you can opt out by going into your settings and selecting the “Turn off stories” option.
The company says although the addition of Stories may seem like a “big shift” for the app, they’re just another way for users to privately communicate with people. Signal notes that its Stories feature isn’t designed to help people build a following or amplify content for engagement, and that it instead sees Stories as a way to facilitate intimate conversations.
Signal is a little late to the game when it comes to Stories, which first rose to popularity through Snapchat. Over the years, the ephemeral feature has been adopted by nearly every popular platform, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, WhatsApp, Twitter and LinkedIn.