CNN writes in an
article titled “Analysis: Facebook has become a $770 billion clone factory,” that tech giant Facebook has previously discussed plans to introduce innovative and new technology but in recent years has taken to cloning popular features from competitors rather than producing its own new tech.
Instead of brain tech or other novel hardware devices, Facebook has released a long list of copycat products lifted from
YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Slack. Facebook has taken on popular dating apps, launched a Craigslist competitor, and famously ripped off Snapchat’s most popular feature Stories in 2016, shortly before the latter went public. And according to a report this week, Facebook is now looking to do the same with Clubhouse, the audio-focused app of the moment.
In addition to copycatting, when Facebook couldn’t beat ’em, it bought ’em. It
acquired Instagram in 2012, as well as WhatsApp and Oculus
Some of these efforts have led to scrutiny from regulators in the United States. Facebook has been accused of using “its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition,”
in the words of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading a group of attorneys general in investigating the company for potential anti-competitive practices. (Facebook previously said that its acquisitions were cleared by regulators and that users choose their services because they deliver value.)
CNN adds that Facebook’s continuous cloning of competitor’s products brings into question Facebook’s ability to create its own unique technology. Tucker Marion, an associate professor at Northeastern University, stated that copying competitors isn’t a bad strategy but companies also need to introduce their own new tech.
“You really can’t sustain yourself unless you’re doing that,” he said. “At some point you’re going to face a reckoning and look in the mirror and realize you’re the ancient quarterback that needs to do something else.”