You may have known by now that Facebook has rolled out a new feature for its Messenger app in the form of Messenger Day. If you haven't, then you should know that it basically allows users to send messages that vanish after 24 hours.
If it sounds familiar to you, then it's very likely that you've heard about yet another social network, Snapchat, whose basic principle of vanishing messages have also been replicated before by Instagram through Instagram Stories.
Users of Facebook's latest feature have criticized Messenger Day for being quite confusing to use and have described it as a lazy clone of Snapchat. However, though many believe that Facebook's move was mainly to copy their biggest competitor's features, others believe that there is a deeper and darker underlining to this move. One that's more damaging to Snapchat that just having a giant of a competitor clone their product.
It's All About The Numbers
Facebook is the world's biggest social network, with 1.2 billion daily average users all around the globe compared to Snapchat's 158 million daily average users. With vastly different numbers, you would think that the bigger company wouldn't resort to copying the smaller company's features, but according to Business Insider UK, Facebook's move was likely about the numbers and not about the features.
In this brutal competition, Facebook's Messenger Day, with its clumsy features, probably did not shave off a large amount of users from Snapchat, but the point is that it did. Compared to over 1 billion users of Facebook, shave off a little from Snapchat's 158 million users and you'll severely damage the company's growing numbers. Losing even 10 percent of Snapchat's users is a major problem for the growing company when that number is but a mere half a percentage for Facebook for its three major apps.
Basically, it wasn't about the quality of the copycat. It was about that copycat's ability to significantly damage the opponent while doing little damage to its host.
What's The Threat For Facebook?
A threat is a threat for Facebook, and while the numbers may seem like Facebook is doing considerably well compared to Snapchat, the fact of the matter is they are still competition and a good one at that. In a recent poll, it was seen that 58 percent of millennials opt to use Snapchat first, while Facebook was the first choice for only 13 percent of the poll's sample size. That's a deep cut for Facebook, which is why they are not taking any chances of being slowly overtaken by Snapchat.
In fact, it was after Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., filed for its IPO in Feb. 2 that Facebook rolled out the "copycat" features onto their Messenger and WhatsApp, which has about 840 million daily users. The move on WhatsApp received some backlash, making the company revert back to its original text-only messaging system, but the point of the matter is that its 840 million users is still considerably higher compared to Snapchat's 158 million.
There's no saying just how bloody the next few moves from these companies will be, but what's clear is that no move from these companies is clumsy, lazy, or just a "copycat."