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Facebook's Snapchat Mimicry Reaches Dizzying New Heights with WhatsApp 'Status' Update

ABC News
It's so hard to keep track of just how constantly and brazenly Facebook are stealing ideas from Snapchat at the moment. In a sense, it shouldn't be that surprising that a company which got sued for breach of oral contract less than a year after launching might employ less than savoury tactics from time to time, but so blatant has their copycatting of Snapchat been that you'd think they would know when to back off.

Instead, they've introduced not one, but two new updates, both of them inextricably linked to Snapchat. The first was reported on Monday, an update to the Facebook app, allowing users to send photos and videos directly from the camera screen. That's exactly what Snapchat does, but you can give a bit of leeway there as plenty of other photo apps are doing the same thing.

The second update leaves no room for leeway: WhatsApp's 'Status' feature, which previously allowed users to post a 'status' which all their contacts could see, much like you can on Skype, Google Hangouts or wherever else. Now, you can use the feature to send out pictures, with the option of drawing on them or adding stickers, and send them out to everyone on your list. After 24 hours, they vanish.

In this sense, it's almost a top-to-bottom clone of Snapchat Stories, and it's not even the first clone of Snapchat Stories Facebook have created, there's one on Instagram too. It's called Instagram Stories. Did I miss hearing about some manner of incident when someone broke into Menlo Park and stole everyone's imaginations?

There is one key difference: end-to-end encryption. It's the feature that WhatsApp have been using as their signature weapon for some time, the promise that your messaging data is always safely secured from outside attack, and it's the same here. Applying your own approach to a stolen idea doesn't make it any less stolen though, nor did it the last 16 times Facebook copied Snapchat.

The thing that really baffles me about this is that WhatsApp doesn't need to resemble Snapchat, WhatsApp doesn't have the same intended purpose, style or appeal as Snapchat, it's a separate and completely different platform. At the moment, it's just looking like a dumping ground for Facebook's more nefarious undertakings. Hopefully this will be the last time, but hope is a fickle thing.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Facebook's Snapchat Mimicry Reaches Dizzying New Heights with WhatsApp 'Status' Update Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 27, 2017 Rating: 5

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