Legally speaking, perhaps Facebook can get away with saying they only took inspiration from Snapchat’s features, but what will users say who are put-off by this copy-paste?

Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian

By: Tanja Džido, Digital brand strategist & consultant

Something is rotten in the world of social networks. Have you not noticed? If you don’t have an account on Snapchat, and you have some free time, do a little experiment. Register and compare it with Facebook Messenger. Try to find the differences. The results might surprise you.

In the second half of the year, to put it diplomatically, Facebook suffered an identity crisis, during which it began to behave like Snapchat. Not that copy-paste is an unknown strategy for them (remember when they took the hashtag from Twitter, although these never fully took root on Facebook), but this time it almost shamelessly pilfered Snapchat, during its biggest growth.

Although Snapchat is still a small player compared with Facebook, it has marked a rapid growth recently, with as many as 150 million active users daily, and – which is most interesting – it is becoming a major social network of younger users, who at the same time become less and less interested in Facebook.

Facebook struck back with its “Copy and Conquer” strategy, and here’s a little outline of its tactics over the last six months:

  • August 2016 – Instagram Stories – enables users to share 24h photos or videos with messages and stickers. Hm, Snapchat Stories?
  • October 2016 – Facebook in Ireland tests video messages with AR filters and announces live video with virtual filters – Snapchat Masks? Snapchat Lenses?
  • November 2016 – Facebook in Brazil tests Flash application for sharing AR photos and video messages that disappear in short time. Sounds familiar?
  • December 2016 – Facebook announces Collections, a feature that pulls content and shows it in News Feed similar to Snapchat Discover.
  • December 2016 – Facebook Messenger app is enriched with the selfie cam with fun filters, and the created content, if the user posts it, disappears after 24h. Need I say Snapchat again?

Copy or inspiration?

Facebook’s strategy: copy (upgrade or differentiate) and conquer assumes that Facebook is big enough to take anyone’s idea and implement it in ten times bigger and better scale, conquering markets and eliminating competition. Messenger selfie camera is an excellent example of enhanced Snapchat’s features in one place: filters, lenses, 24h content and stickers. They have nothing against Snapchat, they just want to make all the latest and best features available on their platforms, and judging by the results, this strategy paid off. Instagram Stories already in the first few months had 100 million active users per day, and Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp now have a billion each.

Legally speaking, perhaps Facebook can get away claiming they only took inspiration from Snapchat’s features, but what will users say who are put-off by this copy-paste?

What’s your take on this? Does it drive you away as well?