Facebook and other companies have been copying features from Snapchat and other apps for a while, which is quite normal.
What is disturbing, however, is that the social media bigwig has bizarrely resolved to blatant cloning of Snapchat core features in the past one year, leaving people with more questions than answers.
Facebook has a portfolio of standalone apps which were native applications distinct with features from their original creators before they were bought. Now, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and the social media core app all have a feature or more directly borrowed from Snapchat.
Reason:It has finally dawned on tech companies that the future of internet communication hinges on phone’s camera, an idea Snapchat was first to leaving its rivals to playcatch-up. Mark Zuckerberg knows it,and as competitive as he is, he is not letting his company lag behind.
Facebook infringement into Snapchat’sterritory can be traced back to March 2016, when the company acquired MSQRD, an app that allows users to swop their faces with ridiculous effects, mimicking Snapchat’s Lens filters. Later in April, the company added QR codes for Messenger profiles, similar to Snapchat codes.
Instagram Stories is the closest you can ever get to a copycat –the feature is a barefaced replica of Snapchat’siconic Stories format. The camera-based platform prides itself in pioneering the ephemeral Stories feature that lets users post videos and photos that vanishes after 24 hours. Facebook, in August 2016, launched a similar feature on Instagram.
It was such an obvious copycatthat Instagram’s CEO Systrom, in an interview with TechCrunch, admitted that the feature had been uplifted directly from Snapchat and that all credits goes to them [Snapchat] just like Instagram deserves all acknowledgements for bringing filters to light.
However, he denied the feeling that his company had disgracefully cloned a rival’s feature, instead he sees it as a format that anyone can spin and that it doesn’t matter who gets to it first.
Mark Zuckerberg reportedly declared war on Snapchat during Facebook’s all-hands meeting with its employees, according to an insider in the company. That was in the summer, and then in October during Facebook’s Quarterly income summit, the company’s CEO admitted that they are now taking camera seriously after realizing it holds the future of communication. Zuckerberg even foresees camera replacing textbox as the primary way of communication.
In February, 2017 Facebook added an encrypted format of Snapchat Stories to WhatsApp and dubbed it Status replacing it old text-based status. The leading instant messaging application became the fourth member of platform’s family of apps to factor in the feature after Instagram, Facebook main app and Messenger.
As if that is not enough, Facebook is copying Snapchat’sgeofilters and selfie covers. Just like Snapchat geofilters, the social media powerhouse, in some countries, allow users to tailor camera frames thatother users can map over they images and use as profile photos.
During an earning call with investors, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel finally responded to Facebook’s direct cloning and his answer was rather calm. He said that they aren’t surprised and that you got to be prepared to see others copy you when you invent something new.
He likens his company’s rivalry with Facebook to Google and Yahoo stalemate in the early days when Yahoo was Yahoo but on a philosophical note says that the fact that Yahoo has a search tab doesn’t make it Google, sounds like Snapchat is prepared with the best.
Nonetheless, Facebook encroachment into Snapchat’sdefining features is dwarfing the company’sgrowth, the app registered an additional 8 million new daily users in the first three months in 2017 representing 36% year-on-year growth, a huge drop compared to last year’s 52%.