Facebook: A History of Successful Stealing

If you happened to have opened up your Facebook mobile app recently, you might find that there are some new features. One of them being that you’re no longer tied to a simple white backdrop with black text when posting statuses. You can now add some extra color to them in order to make it stand out a little more by selecting 7 different color schemes. Neat.

However, the big feature that everyone is talking about is the brand new Facebook Stories. It allows you to capture videos of yourself, send them to friends, or post short clips of yourself that only last for 24 hours. Yeah, sound familiar? People are talking about it, because once again, Facebook has blatantly ripped off Snapchat. They did it previously with Instagram, another social media company that Facebook purchased in 2012. Instagram added the stories feature back in August of 2016 and again people were not happy. It goes with the adage that “the best artists don’t create, they steal.” However, Facebook has now forgone the idea of stealing and has resorted to the simple method of copy and paste.

It’s not a good look for a company whose CEO had to, before going public, settle a $65 million lawsuit for, what’s that? Oh yeah, stealing ideas. If you’re unfamiliar with the origin of Facebook, I suggest watching the movie The Social Network. It’s actually a fairly underrated David Fincher movie, and Jesse Eisenberg actually gets casted correctly.

Regardless, if you’re in the start-up business, this news should terrify you. Snapchat is certainly not a start-up anymore, but they were at one point in time. Their unique idea of being able to capture short videos and send them to anyone without killing your data and allowing them to erase immediately is being used on almost every social media platform now. They’re just lucky they were able to make a bunch of money before Facebook copped the idea and made them obsolete.

However, other companies weren’t as lucky. Some features that Facebook implemented such as Checking In (Foursquare) and Writing a Review (Yelp) ruined those companies. I literally just had to Google Foursquare to see if it still existed. Surprisingly it does, but I can’t imagine their overall value is worth as much as it was before Facebook soaked up their features. I’d imagine the same goes for Yelp.

For Facebook’s quest to becoming the end all be all social media platform, they’re not afraid to “absorb” features. Obviously. They’re basically becoming The Blob. Whatever they touch just becomes Facebook with little to no repercussions, which is a shame. This action destroys any kind of reward system in Silicon Valley. It negates a lot of that “go getter” attitude that was so prominent in the early stages of Silicon Valley. Now, startups look to create tiny features to sell to the goliaths, instead of trying to build platforms to compete with them. Competition is what helped create this giant economy that we have now. By letting Facebook copy, steal, and recreate at will, we’re essentially letting them monopolize the huge social media industry. Good on Snapchat for refusing to sell their company to them back in 2013. The tech industry could use a good rivalry such as this.