Facebook has copied Snapchat now and for those who are counting, we hear it is now about 16 times and counting. But replicating the features of a rival company that much especially if you have deeper pockets will eventually take a toll on that company. It’s important to note though that Facebook had sought to buy Snapchat which is expected to be worth about $25b this year for $3b some years ago.
One of the major effects of “Facebook’s attack” on Snapchat is that advertisers are fast dumping Snapchat’s Stories for Instagram’s (A company Facebook bought for $1b). But it now looks like not everyone is happy with this according to a USA Today report which says some users are now revolting against Facebook. But Facebook didn’t just start copying Snapchat but the latest feature Facebook added in its Messenger app called Messenger Day is what is breaking the Camel’s back for some. Before that though, WhatsApp which is owned by Facebook recently updated the app to feature Snapchat’s “status” look.
But seeing as WhatsApp’s ratings started falling, they backtracked saying “We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings. This means they didn’t exactly retract but just hid it under another section.
So here’s what some users who spoke to USA Today have to say about Facebook’s aggressive push perhaps to kill a service it once tried to acquire.
“I would prefer they looked into developing useful features … relevant to communication rather than trying to compete with Snapchat,” Hinds said. “It feels like a completely redundant feature and could not be further from the reason I use WhatsApp.” – Tania Hinds, a 26-year-old part-time blogger from Brighton, England who works in retail.
“Messenger used to be a relatively clean interface. Adding Snapchat-like features to it serves to not only clutter this up, but also create confusion about the purpose of Messenger,” he said. “Messenger needs to stick to what it is designed to do best. The Snapchat cloning features have added no benefit at all.” – Julian Maha, the 40-year-old founder and CEO of KultureCity in Birmingham, Alabama, who uses Messenger to communicate with his start-up team internationally.
“I don’t feel like I need another way to express myself online,” said Petrochenko, 37, who is active on Facebook, Instagram Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat and used to work for LiveJournal and Russian social network Kroogi. “I already use Snapchat for personal updates. And if I would want to share those with my friends who aren’t on Snapchat, I would probably copy my Snaps to Instagram like some people do.” – Anjelika Petrochenko, co-founder and vice president of product at ArrowPass, a tech start-up in Oakland, California
Silicon Valley venture capitalist M.G. Siegler says he gets it. Snap, now publicly traded, is so in tune with young people that it has become an existential threat to Facebook.
But Siegler’s verdict on Messenger Day? He hates it. He even wrote a blog post to convey his consternation: “ShatChat: The opposite of an ode to Facebook ‘Messenger Day.’”
“The ‘Story’ format makes sense in Instagram. From the get-go, it was a visual feed of information,” and if users didn’t want it, they could just keep scrolling down the feed, he wrote in the blog post.
That’s not the case in Messenger, Siegler argues.
“Here, people have their list of contacts and/or groups that they chat with. The most recent conversations — likely the most important — are at the top of that feed. But if you’re anything like me, you’re often scrolling down a bit because you have many regular conversations. And so this screen real estate is insanely valuable. And Messenger puked up this new ‘Day’ nonsense all over it.”
These are the opinions of some and this just represents the views of many across the world and this is represented in the diversity of people sampled by the USA Today report. While it’s space for all, users at least should call out companies who are leveraging on their size and financial strength to kill other brands. In the early days, people used to go to court for things like this but with internet laws that say you cannot patent certain features and software written in open source based languages like PHP, it’s almost a free for all. But where the law limits these companies, users can morally speak out against it and that’s what we have seen in the case of WhatsApp.