May 31, 2017

Instagram doesn't 'copy' Snapchat but 'builds' on it, says CEO

BYPankaj Mishra

Does Instagram copy Snapchat? Most of you will instantly agree it does, but for Instagram CEO, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is just “building” on Snapchat.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Kevin Systrom said that even if Snapchat had all of these features before, it doesn’t mean Instagram is blatantly copying Snapchat.
Systrom agreed Instagram’s Stories feature is “definitely similar” to Snapchat’s version, but argued that this did not establish that they were copying it.
Originally launched by Snapchat, the Stories feature shows photos and videos shared in chronological order that disappear after 24 hours.
Facebook introduced something similar in its app Instagram last August. Today, Instagram has over 200 million people using Stories daily — more than even Snapchat.
Now, Messenger, WhatsApp and the main Facebook app have all added the Stories feature (In WhatsApp, it is called Status).
However, for the Instagram CEO, the Snapchat-Instagram battle is akin to the early days of cars, saying that more companies came along after the Model T.
“In this scenario, Instagram is simply building upon a technology that Snapchat created,” Systrom was quoted as saying.
That Facebook is going after Snapchat is not news, but the battle has now become somewhat ugly.
At its recent F8 developer conference in San Jose in the US, CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched the Camera Effects Platform to encourage augmented reality (AR) effects — a move reported by The New York Times as Facebook’s “brazen heist” over Snapchat.
“Facebook is not just learning/borrowing features from Snapchat (mostly to Instagram), but it has been borrowing features from other messaging apps too. For example, Facebook Messenger learned a lot of features from WeChat (China) since last year’s F8, such as creating branded accounts and letting brands use it for customer services,” Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst with US-based market research firm Forrester, told IANS.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.