Facebook has done a lot of cloning from rival apps. The company hasn’t shied from introducing new copied features on its apps and platforms.
Being a tech giant gives Facebook a lot of advantage as it can leverage its audiences across its already popular platforms to have better engagement and more revenue from advertisers.
Facebook takes these features cloned from rival apps and not only tailor these experiences but also optimizes them for increased user engagement. Some of these features even overshadow their original counterparts.
“Copying is faster than innovating,” reads Facebook employee emails from 2012 when the company was under probe by the US House Judiciary Committee.
“We spend a lot of time on products and iterations on products that are not that used. If you gave the top-down order to go ahead, copy e.g. Pinterest or the gaming dynamics on Foursquare … I am sure [a] very small team of engineers, a [product manager], and a designer would get it done super quickly.”
“I would love to be far more aggressive and nimble in copying competitors at the interface / last mile level. Let’s ‘copy’ (aka super-set) Pinterest!”, reads another email.
Facebook usually has internal Q & A between its employees and Mark Zuckerberg. This Q & A features questions from employees and they’re voted up.
It seems like most Facebook employees want the company to stop cloning features from apps and start being original.
Lat night’s top voted question was:
“What is our next big product, which does not imitate already existing products on the market?”
Here’s another one:
“Are you afraid of FB becoming like GE of the 90s: a huge conglomerate where not all entities are tied to the company’s core mission?”
A Timeline of features Facebook has copied and implemented on its apps
Facebook copied Snapchat’s Stories feature and put it on Facebook as Facebook Stories, Messenger Stories, Instagram Stories and on WhatsApp as WhatsApp Status.
When Facebook got tired of copying Snapchat, it went into copying TikTok which was a rising short video platform.
Facebook introduced Reels on Instagram. They recently launched Reels Remix, a TikTok duet clone.
With Clubhouse revamping the social media landscape, Facebook has gone all-in on live audio like other platforms including Twitter Spaces, Telegram Voice Chats, Discord, Spotify and Slack working on their own versions.
Facebook announced Live Audio Rooms on the app and on Messenger, Soundbites and partnered up with Spotify to get into podcasts and the music scene.
“At a high-level picture here, we think audio is also going to be a first-class medium,”Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Facebook is also rumored to be working on a newsletter product to rival Substack.
“We’ve certainly adapted features that others have led in, as have others copied and adapted features we’ve invented,” Mark Zuckerberg to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-W.A.)
It is going to be interesting to see if Facebook stops cloning and comes up with new features especially since they’ve runout of companies to buy and we’re yet to see any other trending platform as Clubhouse’s popularity dies down.