HOW INSTAGRAM LEGALLY COPIED SNAPCHAT!

There is a lot of good happening to Instagram to this day. The popular social app sees engagement from over 300 million daily users. These users are posting selfies, their morning or afternoon lattes, as well as seemingly endless pictures of their babies. Instagram recently took a drastic turn by introducing a new feature called ‘Stories.’ According to Instagram: Stories allows users to post photos and videos, sometimes embellished with text and illustrations, in a kind of slide show, which automatically disappears after twenty-four hours. This new feature looks EXACTLY like Snapchat’s main feature and, this has caused an outrage. Before you agree on this debate and jump on the hatestagram train, let’s back up just a bit.

The date is July 6th, 2016, and Snapchat introduced a new feature called Memories. According to Snapchat: Memories is a new way to save Snaps and Stories on Snapchat. It’s a personal collection of your favorite moments that live below the Camera screen. Instagram pre-dates Snapchat by 6 years and it already operated with a feature that is very similar to Snapchat’s memories. Coincidence you say? Okay then let’s dig a little deeper. I’m trying to figure out whether Instagram really just pulled a Melania Trump and straight up copied Snapchat.

Snapchat is an app that satisfies a craving for immediacy and ephemerality…

Ephemerality is the concept of things being transitory, existing only briefly.

A recent Washington Post profile showed a study in which girls nowadays only have a few dozen public posts on Instagram. The reason behind this is due to several variables which include not getting a desired amount of likes! A big number of users on Instagram are not keeping their posts for more than a week. Instagram is satisfying a need by creating stories due to an analysis of its users and their behaviors. Is Instagram’s stories a real travesty then?

The following information might blow your mind, but follow along:

  • Facebook brought us the feed in 2006
  • Twitter introduced its feed shortly after Facebook. LinkedIn and Instagram followed
  • Instagram was founded in 2010; it introduced the filters
  • Snapchat was founded a year after Instagram; it also introduced filters
  • Snapchat introduced the stories model, which is now adopted by Instagram

Are you seeing a trend here? This type of behavior seems to be very common for digital applications, and it seems to be evolving in order to cater to its user base. The interesting thing about this so called outrage is how calm and collected the Instagram team has reacted . CEO Kevin Systrom gave public credit to Snapchat by saying, “They deserve all the credit.” The reason why he is not stressed out about the media’s recent reaction is because what Instagram did is perfectly legal. Duke law professor Arti Rai says that copyright and trademark laws do not protect the adoption of a feature like Snapchat Stories given the inherent differences in the interfaces of the two apps. “It’s okay to take somebody’s idea so long as your expression of it is different,” Rai says.

Twitter recently launched a new algorithmic feed in order to serve users better…does that not sound like one of Facebook’s recent updates?

So does this mean that, in the realm of software, it’s a free-for-all — so long as you don’t lift exact code from a competitor? I’m sure it’s more complicated than that. What do you think? Have you started using Instagram Stories yet? How does it compare to Snapchat? Let me know what you think about this new feature in the comments below.