Today, Instagram released a new feature called “Stories” that looks and behaves exactly like Snapchat Stories. Instagram itself has acknowledged this fact, and is unabashedly promoting Stories as its own version of Snapchat, despite widespread criticism.

Happy wet havanese dog relies on the edge of an inflatable outdoor pool in a hot summer afternoon

As advertised, Instagram Stories works almost exactly like Snapchat Stories. Users take pictures, edit them with stickers and emojis, and then upload them to the “story” feature, which like Snapchat, has a 24-hour shelf life. The only major difference is that Instagram provides the user with more textual instructions on how to use the app, whereas Snapchat expects the user to figure it out intuitively.

Instagram Stories, however, are not a direct parody of Snapchat stories. Although the actual feature may act almost exactly the same as Snapchat’s version, Instagram has a pre-existing (and more-user friendly) infrastructure in addition to a fanbase size that Snapchat cannot match as of yet.

One of Snapchat’s chief drawbacks is that users cannot find each other unless they already know each other’s usernames. Instagram, on the other hand, operates much like its owner, Facebook, which makes it relatively easy to find other users. Simply by virtue of being more accessible, Instagram stories provide their users a greater ability to connect with more people.

In the end, Instagram Stories is aimed more at older social media users than at the teenagers who generally flock to Snapchat. And, since it’s more user-friendly and accessible than Snapchat, businesses will almost certainly try to use it for advertising if  it becomes popular among Instagram users.

Stories could mean great things for Instagram, as it encourages users to be more actively involved in the social network. Conversely, it could fail enormously, if Instagram users do not see the point of something which is, in the end, just a parody.