The final phase of human evolution is complete: Everything is Snapchat. Facebook announced Tuesday that its extremely Snapchat-like feature Stories would be hitting the main app. To ensure full Snapchat-ification was achieved, Facebook also announced the addition of a time-limited photo and video sharing tool called Direct. Just so we're all absolutely certain that Snapchat is everything and everything is Snapchat, Facebook complemented these announcements with a new in-app camera stacked packed with masks and filters.
"The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we’re also introducing Facebook Stories, which lets you share multiple photos and videos as part of a visual collection atop News Feed," Facebook product manager Connor Hayes said Tuesday. "Your friends can view photos or videos your story for 24 hours, and stories won’t appear on your Timeline or in News Feed unless you post them there, too." Hell yeah. Look how Snapchatty it looks:
Naturally, Facebook's Direct feature also reeks of snaps and chats:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—or is it blasphemy? I can't remember. As fellow social media war aficionados will recall, Facebook's competitive relationship with Snapchat dates back to at least 2013, when the Wall Street Journal reported the company had turned down a $3 billion offer from Zuckerberg Inc. "There are very few people in the world who get to build a business like this," Snapchat boss Evan Spiegel told Forbes in 2014. "I think trading that for some short-term gain isn't very interesting." Also worth noting: Facebook doesn't shy away from crediting Snapchat with "pioneering the Stories format," CNN's Heather Kelly said Tuesday.
In January, the Snap Inc. management team wisely touted one of its most enviable accomplishments: Extremely high engagement. The company told bank analysts that Snapchat's daily active users haul currently sits at "just more than 150 million," according to Bloomberg. Those figures were a timely flex, as the company was aiming to convince investor it's worth as much as $20 billion. Facebook, according to CNN Money, could one day hit the coveted $1 trillion market valuation.
So if everything is Snapchat, and Snapchat is everything, then what is Facebook? Just a cool place for your grandmother to publicly express her disapproval about your tendency toward pervasive profanity? Yes! It's exactly that, but with cool Snapchatty features you can use whenever you get tired of using them on the Facebook-owned Instagram.
Snapchat influences aside, Facebook has been accused in the past of borrowing heavily from other tech giants. In January, Zuckerberg hit the witness stand in Dallas federal court to deny allegations of stealing virtual reality technology for its Oculus unit. "Oculus products are based on Oculus technology," he told the jury, according to Fortune. Facebook was in the middle of buying Oculus for $2 billion when ZeniMax sued for claims of intellectual property theft. Facebook was later ordered to pay $500 million in damages to ZeniMax.
Another suit reported by Ars Technica last month claimed Facebook "simply stole" the design of its data center in Luleå, Sweden. In its federal lawsuit, BladeRoom Group (BRG) said Facebook "blithely passed [the design] off to the world in 2014." Despite Facebook's assertion that BRG doesn't own any of the "trade secrets" alleged to have been used in the construction of its data center, BRG said it holds the rights to such "mission-critical modular building," including data centers.