Over the weekend, social media giant Facebook decided to turn up the heat in its attempts to compete with and overhaul popular photo and video sharing platform Snapchat.
Facebook has long had an obsession with Snapchat, ever since its inception back in 2011, and this weekend saw the company launch a further series of tests and plans to fulfil its objectives, representing attempts eight, nine and ten.
Attempt number eight saw the company test a new camera in its main app. This camera lens offers users the chance to apply a number of fun filters in a not-so-subtle similarity to Snapchat. This is currently a test that is being conducted on users based in Ireland. These users simply need to swipe right on the home screen of the main app.
As well as this, the company also announced a Halloween-themed set of photo filters for Facebook Live. These are different to the ones being tested in Ireland and can’t be saved to a user’s camera roll. This seems to be more of a promotion for Facebook Live sharing.
Attempt number ten for Facebook saw the company put in an offer to purchase the Asian clone of Snapchat – Snow. This app also lets users apply a series of masks and filters to their messages. However, reports from TechCrunch suggest that the Korean company rejected Facebook’s offer, mirroring the outcome of Facebook’s 2013 attempt to acquire Snapchat.
With the next series of attempts to challenge the popular photo and video sharing platform underway, we take a look back at the previous seven attempts:
Attempt 1 – this took place back in 2012 with Facebook introducing Poke, an app which copied the idea of Snapchat’s disappearing messages. This app only took developers 12 days to create, something that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was pleased about. However, like messages sent on the platform, the app disappeared not long after its initial release.
Attempt 2 – Facebook took a different attitude for this attempt, and tried to buy Snapchat itself in 2013. It offered the company $3bn (£1.9bn) but Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel declined the offer.
Attempt 3 – The next attempt from Facebook saw it create Slingshot back in 2014. This app was cloned on Snapchat and featured some very similar features. It also had some unique features to make it appeal more to users in comparison to Snapchat, which continued to grow in popularity. Alas, Slingshot could not live up to its competition and Facebook pulled the plug on the app a year after launch.
Attempt 4 – Last year, the company tested incorporating self-destructing messages into its Messenger app. The test was only conducted on a select group of users, but ended up in the same boat at the previous three attempts and was not rolled out to all users.
Attempt 5 – Earlier this year, Facebook tried to revive the tests of attempt 4 and trialled “secret messages” within Messenger. This feature was part of a security update and works in conjunction with end-to-end encryption. Users will still find that this feature remains within Messenger today.
Attempt 6 – Unsatisfied with secret messages, Facebook didn’t stop there. Attempt 6 of Facebook’s desire to overhaul Snapchat saw it bring ‘Stories’ to Instagram. Stories is a feature of Snapchat that allows users to post a video/image to a different section of the app that becomes visible for 24 hours. Instagram Stories is also still a live feature that users can utilise.
Attempt 7 – In the same month as attempt 6, the next plan saw Facebook introduce ‘Lifestage’. This app is designed for under-21s and calls for users to display a range of emotions, information and pictures to which they can then apply filters and send amongst friends. Although this app may not be in direct competition with Snapchat, its filters and editing tools give the app a Snapchat-esque feel about it.
Although Facebook may never find the secret to Snapchat’s success, you have to commend its never-say-die attitude to trying! The story is not too dissimilar to the Looney Tunes cartoon ‘Road Runner’ where the speedy bird continually foils and evades capture from the Wile E. Coyote. Perhaps eventually, Wile E. will win?