Facebook vs Snapchat – the copycat spree

We recently published an article on how social media is becoming “amnesic” with the epidemic of the stories feature. But there’s a thin line between liking someone and being obsessed with them. Like a teenage schoolgirl wanting to be like the cool girl in class, the copycat spree is becoming ridiculous now. Following is a short recap of the Facebook vs Snapchat series.

Episode 1: Try to buy Snapchat

In 2013, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $ 3 Billion (that is over 19 thousand crore ₹). Two year old Snapchat refused to sell. So Mark tried to get back at Snapchat. How? In the following steps.

Episode 2: Try to make apps to weaken Snapchat

Facebook tried to make an app that would rival Snapchat called Slingshot. Basically the idea is to sling your shot back to see your friend’s shot. Naturally, this did not go well.

Source: The Verge

Episode 3: Launch a full fledged copycat campaign

When Facebook owned Instagram launched Stories to spite Snapchat, it wasn’t the last time they were going to try to spite Snapchat. The following images will tell you that.

Instagram Stories. Source: TechCrunch

WhatsApp status stories

New WhatsApp Status. Source: Instagram

Facebook Stories. Source: Business Insider

Episode 4: Deliver the death blow

Finally after Facebook copied the same thing three times, inevitably the fourth time was due. TechCrunch did a full cover on “Messenger Day” if you want to check that out.

“Messenger Day”. Source: TechCrunch.

Here’s what’s worrying. Facebook doesn’t care for originality anymore. Even though this has happened before with not so popular apps, Facebook has launched a full scale attack on a competitor. It’s dominating the social platform and making sure no one can come behind.

Finale: Why isn’t Snapchat suing Facebook? And is this the end?

Snapchat is not suing Facebook because it’s not strictly illegal. In one of the oldest of such cases, Apple computer v. Microsoft Corp., Apple tried to sue Microsoft citing that their Windows 2.0 Graphical User Interface (GUI) similar to Apple’s Lisa. Apple lost the case and the court ruled that Apple could not patent something because the “look and feel” of something was similar. The individual elements could be copyrighted but Apple did not have rights to them, Xerox did. Apple lost the cases and subsequently, Apple almost went extinct. Microsoft bailed Apple out by agreeing to invest in Apple for five years and continuing to build the Microsoft Office Suite for Apple’s devices in exchange for making Internet Explorer the default browser on the Macintosh. Apple only regained its strength after the revolutionary iPod hit stores in 2001.

Snapchat could sue Facebook but would inevitably lose the case because “ideas” or content “formats” (as the Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says) cannot be copyrighted. The only way for Snapchat to survive is if they do something revolutionary as well. Filters or “lenses” as Snapchats calls them won’t cut it because as much as it is fun to use Snapchat lenses, it’s not revolutionary.

Personally I have no love for Snapchat or the “stories” feature, but we’re going to find out how it’ll work out with all of you.

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