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A Million Little Facebook Pieces, by Sarah Perez

Stashed in: Instagram!, Copying, FB, @om, Snapchat, WhatsApp, WhatsApp!, Facebook Acquisitions, FB Acquisitions

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Facebook doesn't innovate. It copies and it acquires.

Facebook, massive and successful as it is, is no longer a company that defines new social experiences. It either copies them outright, or it just buys them. (See also: $19 billion for WhatsApp).

Facebook has been a copycat for a long time:

Back when users were still checking in on Foursquare, Facebook launched its own way to “check-in” with friends on Facebook.

Before that, when social networking early adopters started sharing and “liking” content over onFriendFeedFacebook copied the “like” and made it such a ubiquitous part of Facebook, that a majority of people today would probably tell you Facebook originated the idea.

But in more recent years, Facebook’s attempts at cloning other services fell flat. Its Camera app was a dud. Its ephemeral messaging app Poke was even worse. But Facebook threw a billion dollars at the first problem, effectively solving it with the purchase of Instagram. It later tried to throw some 3 billion at Snapchat, and got shot down. But now it has WhatsApp, so it has the users it cares about more than money, it seems.

Other internal efforts have also failed. Facebook Home, a homescreen replacement and launcher for Android, not only flopped, but also showed that Facebook had a tin ear when it came to understanding the desires of an Android user base. These users revel in their ability to customize their phones and make them their own, not have one network’s content shoved down their throats.

“In other words, Facebook has failed to invent any new behaviors or even innovate on the behaviors that were commonplace on the service. - Om Malik.

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