Are you a fan of posting or snapping? Facebook and Snapchat have long been battling for social media and mobile supremacy, but the battle just got even more heated with the release of new photo features from Facebook that copies many of Snapchat’s best features.
Three New Features
Facebook recently introduced three new features to its photos: a camera full of effects, a place for disappearing stories, and a way to share with your friends straight from your camera. What do these features have in common? They all already exist in Snapchat and are some of the features that have made Snapchat so successful.
The new program is called Messenger Day, and it allows users to share photos with only certain friends and to post photos and videos that are automatically deleted after 24 hours. The program was tested in countries around the world but just recently was rolled out to the millions of users of the Facebook Messenger app.
Although the features have been in the works for months, it seems pretty obvious Facebook copied Snapchat. It’s not the first time someone else has copied the massively successful photo service—Instagram and WhatsApp, among others, have already copied some of the features. Facebook’s move cements Snapchat’s technology into all aspects of social media and shows that this is how we communicate with each other now: with short messages and fun pictures sent straight from our phones.
According to Facebook officials, the new features showcase the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts that text is on the way out and visual images are the hot new thing—instead of sharing a written status, people now prefer to share a short video clip or photo.
“In the future, we see a world not too far off when most of what we share will be videos,” said Facebook product manager Sachin Monga. “We really think we are closer to the beginning of this shift towards visual content than we are towards the end.”
Changes for Facebook and Snapchat
According to many experts, Snapchat should be flattered that Facebook just copied some of its biggest features. Snapchat has been very successful, but it has struggled to move beyond its target market of teenagers and young adults.
Facebook has a much more diverse audience, which opens the technology to new, large groups of people, potentially changing how Snapchat markets itself and the demographics it reaches.
The features could also change how Facebook operates. The social media powerhouse has long been about sharing everything with everyone, but the ability to share stories with smaller groups of friends and have them not be permanent opens new doors for how users communicate. It could be the push Facebook needs, as it is increasingly seen as on its way out.
Incorporating Snapchat features also introduces a new generation of older Facebook users to augmented reality, which is one of the hottest new technology trends. The AR-enabled camera on the Facebook app puts the technology in the hands of billions of users. Other companies are also expected to incorporate AR into their products soon, including rumors of AR being added to the 10th anniversary iPhone due out in September.
Facebook’s move to copy Snapchat isn’t unexpected, but it does show the power visual images have on social media. Time will tell if the copycat move will hurt or harm the companies’ rivalry.