Why did Meta become a copycat empire?


Meta is under governance

You may suspect it’s a copycat from its product due to high similarity to other products from competitors. Everyone knows that Meta is currently facing investigations by governments of various countries or has been filed for investigation, and has become the target of antitrust cases. Interested readers can refer to another article on my blog “Antitrust and governance faced by Chinese and American technology giants

Squeeze smaller rivals

One of the main reasons why Facebook has been targeted by antitrust agencies in various countries is that it abuses its market influence and financial power to oppress smaller competitors and force them to submit to them. Many potential but smaller competitors are too late to grow up and was forced to be acquired by it.

But ordinary people may not know that Facebook will always check the ranking list of Apple and Alphabet’s mobile app store, and lock the top few on the ranking list or on Facebook family products (Facebook family products have been entrenched in Apple and Alphabet’s actions for many years. The top few in the program store rankings) threatening new emerging programs; then various strategies are adopted to combat them.

These strategies include mergers and acquisitions, plagiarism, and oppression, making Facebook a typical copycat empire; openly copying the functions or ideas of competitors in existing Facebook family products, or simply launching another imitated new product, Expecting that with its strong market share and network effects, oppressing these competitors that may become its opponents in the future, but has not yet become a climate competitor. When asked by the media about this issue, Mark Zuckerberg always expressed in a more euphemistic way: It is a common practice for the technology community to communicate product ideas or functions.

Famouse cases

According to publicly compiled information and media reports, in addition to TikTok, Facebook has copied at least six applications in the past six years. Here are some of the more famous examples:

  • Onavo: Facebook acquired this startup in 2013. It can accurately track and detect the top few popular software on the market and the mobile app stores of Apple and Alphabet. The program most used by people at present, analyzes the important data of many program users. Facebook’s decision to acquire WhatsApp in 2014 at any cost is Onavo’s most typical contribution.
  • In 2016, Facebook launched Stories on its Instagram, which is exactly the same as Snapchat, and it is Snapchat’s most well-known feature, it burns after reading it. This is the most famous case of Facebook plagiarizing a competitor’s product; this is important step also allows Instagram users to grow rapidly. You must be wondering how Snapchat reacted to Facebook plagiarism? Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel appeared to be generous and said: We will focus on products, and will strive to develop more innovative features in the future.
  • In 2020, U.S. Congressman Pramila Jayapal said at the hearing that Facebook always threatens to imitate other people’s products, forcing smaller competitors, including Instagram, to sell themselves to Facebook. Just days after Facebook sent threatening emails to Instagram, the acquisition was completed.
  • These tactics of Facebook are not only used in European and American countries, but also plagiarize many famous successful software from China in the same industry. The reason is that in the development of e-commerce and social programs in China in the past ten years, there have been many application scenarios and developments, which have long surpassed its peers in Silicon Valley and are at the forefront of the world. One of the most famous is that Facebook adopted many ideas from Renren.com in the early stage, and adopted many products from Tencent WeChat in the mid-term. In the past three years, it has shifted its target to Tiktok, a subsidiary of Bytedance. Not only has it been reported that it had wanted to bid for mergers and acquisitions, but later even launched a product that is targeted at Tiktok. In 2018, it launched the short video application Lasso (Facebook also once imitated Pinterest (ticker: PINS) and launched his own application Hobbi) to alleviate the risk of churn of young users, but it did not succeed. Seeing Tiktok continue to gain big in market in the world, in 2020 Facebook will not give up on launching its own short video program Instagram Reels in more than 50 countries around the world. According to the report of “Forbes”; except for the icon, Instagram Reels is almost a replica of Tiktok, and the user experience of the two is completely the same.

The company inevitably gets the big company disease

It was exposed in July 2020. An email from within Facebook in April 2012 showed that Zuckerberg and other company management teams were dissatisfied with the slow development of internal prototype products (Facebook used to benchmark WhatsApp’s Roger, slow development progress is a typical example), and then the company began to study whether it can quickly replicate and iterate similar small and beautiful apps like Pinterest or Tiktok.

credit: wikimedia

At the beginning, Facebook emerged in a new social field in the technology industry, creating the software empire with the largest number of users in history (According to official Facebook data, as of December 31, 2020, the number of monthly active users of Facebook family products is 33 billion people, with 2.6 billion daily active users). However, the pressure of competition, the anxiety of growth, the rapidly evolving nature of the technology industry, and the bureaucratic culture of large companies are inevitable; these factors are combined to cause Facebook to move toward such a product culture.

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