Skip to main content

Facebook's Snapchat Clone Is Good, But Missing Key Feature


Here's how to find Messenger Day, how to watch your friends posts, use its filters and see if it's right for you. Just make sure you've updated the app recently from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store.

How do I find Messenger Day?

As its name suggests, you'll open Messenger and see a new series of card icons at the top of the screen, which might remind Snapchat users of how Discover Stories used to be previewed at the top.

The Messenger home screen makes for a better experience than Snapchat's shutter screen.

The Messenger home screen makes for a better experience than Snapchat's shutter screen.

Just tap the icon on the left of your friend's stories, the one that says "Add to your day," or tap the shutter button at the bottom. You can also jump into Messenger Day by tapping the new shutter button at the bottom of the screen.

MORE: The 19 Best Snapchat Filters

How do I use Messenger Day?

After you've shot and edited your photo or video, tap the forward arrow to proceed to select if you want to add it to your Day or send to a friend. Either way, it will disappear after 24 hours, as it would in Snapchat or Instagram.

Messenger's home screen is its first improvement over Snapchat, as it shows your current conversations, other people's Messenger Day Stories and allows you to start your own. Snapchat just drops users on the Shutter screen, and expects them to know (or figure out) how to swipe to see stories and message threads.

What's better about Messenger Day?

Snapchat may have made its Stories screen easier to parse with a recently added search bar, but Messenger Day is launching with this ease of use, as if to say, "this is for everyone." That's in sharp contrast with Snapchat, which prided itself on how it confused anyone below the age of 25.

Messenger Day filters are easier to find and browse. Image: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide.

Messenger Day filters are easier to find and browse. Image: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide.

Messenger Day also makes it much easier to use filters and stickers, by placing previews of them prominently on your screen the first time you're making a post, and by using a face icon in the top of the screen for subsequent posts. This is much easier to figure out than how you activate filters in Snapchat, by tapping on the screen.

Further, this Snapchat clone's filters are much easier to see and figure out, as it presents them as rows of labelled tiles that you swipe through. It sure beats those tiny little dots at the bottom of the screen that try (and sometimes fail) to explain Snapchat's filters.

Lastly, Messenger Day makes it really simple to elegantly add text to your posts. After you place text on your photo (tap the "Aa" icon to start) the app automatically provides you with a series of stylized options. It appears the developers noticed how easy it can be to accidentally make your Snapchat captions hard to see.

Messenger Day lets you express yourself with precision. Image: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide.

Messenger Day lets you express yourself with precision. Image: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide.

These text overlays are where Messenger Day might shine the most, as many are focused on setting up plans with friends or expressing your exact feelings. For example, I could modify the "Feeling Special" overlay to read "Feeling Excited for the weekend!" so my message comes through loud and clear. Similarly, the "Who's up for _____?" allow a range of ways to emphasize what you're looking to do, so you can broadcast this offer out to your friends.

So, what's missing?

Messenger Day knocked it out of park on usability, but it's missing one of the most important features: face-modifying filters. Sure, it has a lava-lamp-like filter that puts a randomly moving color effect on your face, and particle effects like bubbles, snowflakes and party streamers, but that appears to be it.

Messenger Day's filters don't go as far as Snapchat's. Image: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide.

Messenger Day's filters don't go as far as Snapchat's. Image: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide.

Most of the Snapchat users I know wouldn't consider switching to Messenger Day, because it doesn't offer anything close to the animated dog-face filter or the others that make your skin look nicer. While those might sound like goofy or vain needs, that's part of the appeal of Snapchat--it's a place to get weird. Sure, it was cute to give myself a tiara made of Mario icons, but that looks primitive compared to the animated Marie Curie filter on Snapchat that has bubbling lab equipment and skin tone adjustments.

Instagram Stories doesn't offer these filters either, and it's already become a widely-used feature of that app, so maybe it's not necessary. But without that, this clone will be incomplete for many.

Outlook: Mostly positive

Messenger Day is a more accessible version of Snapchat, and since Messenger is one of the most popular apps already, it won't have a hard time finding users or getting downloads. While it might be enough for existing Facebook users who never tried Snapchat, I don't know if it'll be able to pull people away.

Personally, I'm in the camp that loves the animated face filters, and not sure how many apps I have the time to open and peruse, so it probably won't win me over at this stage.