In the age of digital era, it has become extremely difficult to find authenticity and locate originality. Countless social media platforms have emerged over the years with some of the most popular platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Other social media applications that have gained popularity internationally over the years include WeChat, WhatsApp and Tumblr to name a few. However as new platforms emerge, social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram need to consistently develop new features to ensure they stay ahead. However, these features have very quickly turned into trends, as platforms start adapting, or in other words, copying, the functions and features of other platforms. No one wants to stay behind or become outdated, and as a result of this fierce competition, when one platform launches a new feature that has become popular among users, other social media sites are not too far behind in adapting it. No platform wants to become the next MSN Messenger or MySpace.
So let’s have a look at the integration of features some of the biggest social media giants have ripped off of each other.
Platforms Adapt Instagram’s Heart React Feature
There was once a time when the only reaction you could leave on someone’s Facebook post was a “thumbs up” button. The launch of Instagram in 2010 gave rise to the popular heart react feature. As soon as Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, it enabled the heart reach feature alongside the thumbs up react. Now, Facebook has officially developed a range of react features that users can select from when reacting to a post, including the ‘angry’ emoticon, ‘laughing’ emoticon, ‘sad’ emoticon and more.
Positive user experience and response urged other social media platforms to include this feature, extending itself to Twitter and LinkedIn, becoming an official react feature across platforms.
Taking Over Twitter’s Live Streaming Feature
Twitter Live (Periscope) announced its inclusion of live streaming in March 2015. It was one of the first live streaming apps back then and caught on like wildfire in the techworld. It was launched as a mobile app on its own where users could view live videos as well as previously broadcasted videos. However this feature didn’t stay unique for too long as it was co-opted by both Instagram and Facebook; launching their own version of live streaming.
Twitter got to bask in the glory of this brand new feature for a mere 4-5 months before Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be including a “brand new” feature – Facebook Live. Where users could enable the live video function and stream live videos through the news feed. Due to Facebook’s immense popularity amongst social media users, Facebook Live quickly started mimicking Periscope with their version, but improved it to be integrated as part of a news feed rather than a separate app.
Platforms Introducing Facebook’s Autoplay Feature
This is a genius idea that Facebook developers decided to produce. Facebook autoplay is a function where videos uploaded on Facebook start playing automatically as you scroll down. This heavily changed the marketing of videos as video marketers started focusing on creating a smart hook to real viewers within the first 5 to 10 seconds of the video. This breakthrough was quickly adapted by Twitter and, to no surprise, Instagram.
Did You Know That Twitter Started The Trend of Hashtags, not Instagram?
You know what different social media platforms probably find the most annoying? When one platform starts a trend only for that trend to become more famous and recognised on another platform. Any idea which one we are referring to? Instagram hashtags!
The function of hashtags started with Twitter, however once Instagram picked it up, it quickly became more famous and recognisable as a feature when Instagram launched the “Explore” tab. The “Explore” tab allows you to search and view all images posted consisting of the particular hashtag you searched for. Due to the popularity of Instagram as a platform for sharing images, hashtags soon became a more popular function as opposed to Twitter. It wasn’t long before other social media platforms tailed this feature and adapted the concept of hashtags which have now become part of all social media platforms as a search feature.
The Snapchat Take-Over Era
The launch of Snapchat created a whole new era of social media communication. People were quickly glued to its innovative and exciting features. Snapchat launched in 2015 and became THE app for sharing 24-hour photos and videos. It was the most popular and only platform where you could share your daily activities in photo/ video form. To simplify the process of adding users on Snapchat, it had an exciting feature of “code scanning”. Every Snapchat user would have their own unique QR code which could be scanned by another snapchat user to add as a friend. And then came the feature of filters.
But Snapchat’s features were not just adapted. The entire concept of Snapchat was basically ‘copied and pasted’ onto other platforms. Now Snapchat is no longer unique enough for users, as platforms like Facebook and Instagram started offering ALL the same features Snapchat was famous for. From the 24-hour story cycle to the feature of filters, users can access all the features Snapchat has to offer and more with these other platforms. Ever since the adaptation of the 24-hour news cycle on Facebook and Instagram, the use of Snapchat has drastically dropped.
Snapchat was once a very popular platform consisting of features that no other platform had. Instagram stories and filters are now much more popular and more used than Snapchat ever was, resulting in a massive decline of the use of Snapchat. This was mainly because platforms such as Facebook and Instagram had already gained a lot of popularity in other aspects, making the use of these Snapchat features much more convenient for users. Users no longer had to use Snapchat to share 24 hour stories and Instagram for video and photo posting as they could just use the one, more familiar platform for this function and streamline their online presence. WhatsApp, another app acquired by Facebook, launched their ‘status’ function, a duplicate of Snapchat stories the same year that Facebook introduced their version.
Who remembers the time when everyone had a Skype account? It was perfect for video chatting with friends and family on holiday, international business conference calls or even just grandparents who found it easy enough to manage their computers to use the platform.
However, in 2016, the launch of Facebook video conference calls led to a massive decline in the use of Skype as users shifted their choice of platform for video calls from Skype to Facebook.
Not long after, and not to much surprise, WhatsApp and Instagram launched the function of video conference calling as well. While Facebook did have the option of enabling filters, as did Instagram and Whatsapp, it was still tough to beat some of Snapchat’s most popular filters.
New and Trending Features
Much like other social media platforms, LinkedIn is quickly on its way to launching their version of live streaming. This is currently an invite-only functionality, where only those selected can view the live stream. But imagine conducting live feeds with other professionals and business contacts on LinkedIn… how amazing would that be? It would be like an elevated TedTalk!
Shopping on social media
The launch of Facebook Marketplace in 2016 made a significant impact on the online buying community. Users have shifted from using online marketplace websites such as Craigslist and eBay and are now increasingly using the Marketplace feature to buy and sell items. The launch of this function created a ripple effect in the online marketing community, changing the dynamic of online marketing. With billions of users on Marketplace posting items to buy and sell, it has become extremely convenient for users to find exactly what they are looking for without hassle. All you have to do is click on the Marketplace icon right at the bottom of Facebook and type in what you’re after. Then you’re presented with an endless line of listings to choose from!
Similarly, Instagram has come out with an online shopping feature where users and brands are able to post a photo of the product for sale with a shopping tag, which redirects them to the official brand site where consumers can purchase the product.
Why haven’t there been any copyright claims?
If social media platforms are smart enough to copy trending features from each other, then rest assured, they are smart enough to tweak it enough to avoid copyright infringement. And current IP laws don’t prevent the copying of another’s innovation. Unfortunately this means social media platforms can’t keep the originality of their features even if they wanted!
Staying innovative and claiming innovation has become much harder now. The launch of multiple similar platforms have left little room for creativity. At Anchor, we use these features to our clients’ advantage to ensure they receive the most coverage. Have a look at the difference we’ve made right here! And if you’re intrigued then call us today to see how we can ensure you are on top of your social media.