Is it socially and morally acceptable for a brand to mimic another?

Is it okay for Instagram to replicate Snapchat?

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Dimitrije Kovacevic, 9/3/2016

Various cases of social media app cloning have surfaced since 2012. For instance;

  • o 2009 –Facebook acquires FriendFeed, in an attempt to compete with Twitter

  • o Early 2012 –Facebook tries to replicate Instagram with an app called Facebook Camera

  • o Late 2012 –Facebook buys Instagram for a $1 billion.

  • o 2014 –Facebook makes a poor attempt to recreate Snapchat with their Slingshot app.

  • o Early 2016 –Snapchat adds photo-storage.

  • o July 2016 –Twitter introduces Snapchat-like stickers

  • o August 2016 –Instagram replicates Snapchat’s 24-hour feature


“THIS ISN’T ABOUT WHO INVENTED SOMETHING. THIS IS ABOUT A FORMAT, AND HOW YOU TAKE IT TO A NETWORK AND PUT YOUR OWN SPIN ON IT.” – Instagram C.E.O. Kevin Systrom

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There exists an indisputable truth of this mass innovationof digital evolution, everything social must come together. But is it ethical for Instagram to copy?


Is Instagram so vulnerable to competition that they benefit off Snapchat’s innovation?

Downside

Snapchat stories is exciting and now you can have the same on Instagram. However, there are downsides to this. Digital evangelist and app loyalists like Jack Brody, a product designer at Snapchat; see lack of innovation amongst prominentplatforms. Mobile applications are becoming more similar to one another, social networks are suffering fromsimilarity. Small developers are unsure where they stand in the digitalecosystem, or do they even have an ecosystem.

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R. Polk Wagner; law professor at the University of Pennsylvania

“The interesting question is whether this is good or bad long term”. “Will it diminish investment in new features for these platforms (under the theory that the investment would be wasted because your competitor will simply free-ride), or will it force even faster innovation cycles to attract new users and attention?”

Wagner does not have the answer yet, but what is certain is that Instagram users now have a new fun app to play with irrespective of where it came from.

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