​Snapchat introduces Custom Stories, which you can create together with your friends

Not to be out done by Instagram, Snapchat is announcing a new feature of its own today. While the news has recently been filled more with Instagram’s copies of Snapchat’s features, here’s a chance for Snapchat to capture back some of the spotlight.

Custom Stories can be created about anything, and with any of your friends. So basically this lets groups of people contribute to the same Story. A Story is no longer a one-person affair. You decide who can add to the Story and who can view it.

You can also geo fence a Custom Story to a specific location, and such Stories automatically disappear if none of the contributors have added things in the past 24 hours.

Facebook testing reactions in Messenger

​Facebook introduced Reactions last year, which allowed users to ‘react’ to posts by choosing one of the emoji options below a post. The company is now working on bringing that feature to its Messenger app.

According toTechcrunch, who received a tip from one of its readers, you can now tap a little button next to the messages you receive and choose one of the seven emoji as reactions that is then assigned to that particular message. This is similar to the way Apple implemented Tapback in iOS 10 Messages app.

Techcrunchspoke to Facebook, who confirmed that it is working on the feature and is testing it with a small group of users first. The feature should eventually be available to all the users.

Revamped, auto-expiring WhatsApp Status rolls out to all making it more like Snapchat

​Facebook’s quest to make all of its mobile apps more like Snapchat hasn’t ended. The latest victim is WhatsApp, though the Snapchatifying isn’t as prevalent here as it is in Instagram or Facebook Messenger, for example. The good news is that you can simply ignore the new functionality if you want to – it’s easy.

The bad news? Well, it’s still there. The new WhatsApp Status is now rolling out to all of the app’s users, following a testing period which began last November. Up until this point you were only able to issue a text status message in WhatsApp, but from now on it will basically act like a clone of Instagram Stories, itself a clone of Snapchat Stories.

You can add pictures, videos, and GIFs in your status now, personalizing them with emojis, text, and drawings. Every status automatically expires after 24 hours, of course, as otherwise this wouldn’t have been enough of a Snapchat rip-off. Oh, and there’s also a “seen by” counter. In an interesting twist, WhatsApp says your statuses will be end-to-end encrypted just like your messages.

US and allies strike ISIL targets in Syria

US says bombers, fighter jets and
cruise missiles deployed, and
confirms involvement of Arab
nations in the offensive.
The United States has said it and
its allies have begun bombing
positions held by Islamic State of
Iraq and Levant in Syria, the first
such attacks since forming a
coalition to confront the group.
The attacks began at about 00.30
GMT on Tuesday, with the first
wave of about 20 strikes taking
about 90 minutes. Other waves
were expected in the coming
hours.
“I can confirm that US military
and partner nation forces are
undertaking military action
against ISIL terrorists in Syria
using a mix of fighter, bomber
and Tomahawk land attack
missiles,” a spokesman for the
department of defence said.
“The decision to conduct theses
strikes was made earlier today by
the US central command
commander under authorisation
granted him by the commander
in chief. We will provide more
details later as operationally
appropriate.”
The US did not confirm what was
targeted, but reports on social
media stated that areas of Raqqa
– the ISIL stronghold in Syria –
were hit.
Tens of ISIL fighters were killed
or wounded in the strikes on
Raqqa and surrounding areas,
according to the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights,
which gathers information from
a network of activists on the
ground.
“More than 20 members of ISIL
were killed in strikes on two of
the organisation’s positions in
Raqqa province. The strikes
completely destroyed the two
positions as well as vehicles
stationed there,” the monitoring
group said.