Facebook Stories - Facebook's Direct Assault on Snapchat

Venture Beat
At this point it's just a given that Facebook are going to keep on stealing ideas from Snapchat, but you have to stop and ask yourself, why are they doing it so often? It's not just because Snapchat have more innovative ideas (although they do), but also because Facebook are trying to stop stem their ever-increasing growth in popularity.

Photo and video messaging are the two most significant formats in social media at the moment and Snapchat has them both locked. Rather than exploring other avenues, Facebook have been doing everything they can to interfere with Snapchat's success, up to and including rehashing every new idea they come out with and painting it blue.

The latest is the most bare-faced of them all. It's called Facebook Stories and it's Snapchat Stories with the name changed. It's being added to the top of the news feed on the mobile app alongside two new features: Facebook Camera and Facebook Direct. The first is an update to the way the in-app camera works (making it more like the Snapchat one), and the second is a direct messaging service that allows users to exchange the images and videos they take, just like on Snapchat.

If you're not following, the upshot is that shortly following their bid to turn Messenger into a Snapchat clone, and also the recent efforts to add Snapchat features to WhatsApp, Facebook have now turned their mobile app into a Snapchat clone. Oh and they did the same thing with Instagram too. We have connect four.

Here's the thing though, they aren't denying the fact that they're copying Snapchat. They would probably rather we used phrases like 'inspired by', but they aren't concerned about accusations of plagiarism negatively affecting their credibility. They want to edge Snapchat out of the market and they want to keep their users interested. The kind of people who would be riled by this behaviour aren't the people they're trying to appeal to.

Instagram Stories was successful, and continues to be. Messenger Day, despite annoying a small subset of users, is also going strong. Odds are, it'll be the same here. Whether or not Facebook can actually muscle Snapchat out of their own game remains to be seen, but given the direction Snap Inc are currently heading in, and the dedicated nature of social media users, it's unlikely they will.

That doesn't really matter though. Ultimately what Facebook really want to do is remain relevant. They've outlasted every other social media platform in history because they've managed to stay on the right side of innovation. What was MySpace doing while all its users were flocking to Facebook? Trying to turn itself into a music label. If Facebook need to steal ideas to keep up with the new upstarts, that's what they'll do.

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