What Instagram “borrowed”

Instagram - BeReal - Snapchat
fot. Annie Spratt/Unsplash

First Stories from Snapchat, then rolls from TikTok, now photos from BeReal: Instagram is fighting for users by giving them everything its competitors will offer.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this year investigated the propriety of Meta’s purchase of the Within brand, creator of the Supernatural game. The FTC’s investigation culminated in a lawsuit against the conglomerate, which the Commission filed last week. It was justified on the grounds that there was a threat of Meta taking complete control of the future of the metaverse. Instead of competing on merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top. – said FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director, John Newman.

This is not the first time the FTC has looked at Metas doings. It also filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2020. Over the past decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and sweep away competition, all at the expense of users. – said New York Attorney, Letita James. The charges against Facebook involved eliminating competition using the company’s reach, market position and financial capabilities.

Last August, the complaint was amended and supplemented with new data. In it, the FTC confirms that Facebook had a dominant share of the social networking market, but more importantly, that it has the ability to control competition, as well as dictate prices in the social media space.

CEO and creator of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, claims that his company indeed has competition on the market. He had the opportunity to comment on the matter during the 2018 U.S. Congressional hearings following the scandal involving Cambridge Analitica and the leak of Facebook user data. When asked by Senator Graham whether Facebook was engaging in monopolistic practices, Zuckerberg replied that it doesen’t feel like it. However, he was unable to make clear who the real competition was for the services provided by his company.

What was Meta “inspired” by?

1. Phhhoto

The Phhhoto app was a precursor to the Instagram boomerang. After unsuccessful talks regarding Phhhoto’s cooperation with Facebook, the app has completely lost its reach on Instagram. Also the ability to quickly upload videos directly from Phhhoto was blocked, and all hashtags that could identify the origin of a video disappeared. Ultimately, the Phhhoto app is no longer on the market, and a lawsuit has been filed against Facebook for monopolistic practices.

2. Snapchat

When Stories appeared on Instagram in 2017, we all knew that the idea had been ruthlessly copied from Snapchat. As with Phhhoto, Snap’s creators allegedly did not want to sell their app to Facebook which resulted in the birth of Stories. These, in turn, received a sensational reception among Instagram users. Additionally, shortly thereafter, Kylie Jenner tweeted that she rarely uses Snap anymore. As a result, the company lost nearly $1.3 billion in stock market trading.

3. TikTok

The growing popularity of the app, especially among younger users, clearly worried the Meta team. Instagram developers therefore came up with the idea of expanding their app with the ability to create and add videos along the lines of TikTok. In addition, IG users began to see content shared by people they don’t follow, as is the case with Chinese competitors. In defense of the “former Instagram” black-and-white photo with the caption: Make Instagram Instagram again whent viral and was shared more than 2 million times. Instagram director Adam Mosseri, however, remained unmoved. In a recently published video, he stated that users come first, but changes will still be made, just… slower.

4. BeReal

This relatively young app, with only two years on the market allows users to share photos taken with the rear and front cameras to then share them with friends. After notification from the app that it’s time to “BeReal” users have 2 minutes to share their photo. No filters or enhancements can be applied to show naturalness and “realness” of the users.

Meta likely sensed a threat in BeReal as well. A new option made available to selected Instagram users clearly resembles the concept for the younger app. “Dual”, similarly to BeReal, allows to share photos taken with the front and rear cameras at the same time and within a certain time. The difference, however, is the ability to further apply filters and graphics to photos, via Instagram.

Lucyna Gunia