Facebook Is The “Single White Female” Of Social Apps

Facebook Will Copy Your Haircut If It Has To

It must be tough to be an incumbent and have younger, nimbler competitors eat your lunch.

In the cult 90’s thriller “Single White Female,” Jennifer Jason Leigh wants to replace her departed twin so much that she’s willing to copy everything about her roommate, right down to her haircut and color.

Facebook, our ‘Single White Female’ of social, has a very similar approach to the young hungry competitor situation, where, unlike many other companies, it is unafraid to unabashedly clone anything it feels vaguely threatened by.

Hit the top 30 in the iOS App Store, and all of a sudden Facebook is getting the same haircut and making you an offer you can’t (or in the case of Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy can) refuse.

Here are a just some examples.

FriendFeed vs. News Feed And The "Like" Button

The Facebook “Like” button that we all know and like was actually a feature first introduced by a startup called FriendFeed.

Facebook eventually made the bond official by buying FriendFeed a couple of months after it copied it.

Foursquare vs. Facebook Places

The logo for Facebook’s 2010 attempt at a Foursquare competitor, Facebook Places, was literally the number 4 in a square.

Yelp vs. Nearby

Continuing to innovate in the super-hot SoLoMo space, Facebook’s Nearby allowed you to find local businesses and rate them up to five stars.

Yelp did that in 2004. 

Instagram vs. Facebook Camera

The same year, 2012, Facebook launched its long-rumored Facebook Camera one month after it announced its acquisition of Instagram.

You either get ahead of them or they get ahead of you.

Twitter vs. Facebook Trends, Hashtags And Verified Status

In the summer of 2013, Facebook introduced Twitter-like #hashtags and trends to its newsfeed.

It also eventually “verified” certain VIP user profiles and pages. #Can’t #You #Ever #Do #Anything #Original #Facebook?

Path Stickers vs. Facebook Stickers

In Spring of 2013, Path, following Line and KakaoTalk, launched Stickers.

Facebook shortly followed suit, hoping the idea would stick. 

Snapchat vs. Poke

Snapchat, the one that got away.

Facebook attempted its first Snapchat clone (Poke) in December 2012.

Flipboard vs. Facebook Paper

For Valentine’s Day 2014, Facebook unveiled a Flipboard competitor — Paper.

WhatsApp vs. Facebook Messenger

It couldn’t beat it with Facebook Messenger, so Facebook had to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion in April of this year.

Snapchat vs. Slingshot

Zuckerberg never gives up, launching Facebook’s 2nd attempt at a Snapchattish ephemeral app, Slingshot, just this past week.

Taptalk vs. Slingshot

Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

We know that Facebook was “inspired” by German app Taptalk when it built Slingshot. It’s also obvious to anyone with eyes.

What's Next, Yo?

TechCrunch staff writer Greg Kumparak posits that Facebook will eventually build its own Yo competitor and call it ‘Sup.

This would be brilliant, as Yo is basically a mobile version of an original feature that Facebook did invent and trademark: The Facebook poke.