Facebook is having trouble “changing the DNA of their company”, which revolves around people “competing with each other for attention”, according to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, who slammed his social media rival in a stinging attack.
Speaking at the Code Conference, Spiegel dismissed the impact of Facebook launching a similar product to Snap’s “stories” feature, which it has rolled out across its core Facebook offering, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp.
The feature, which allows people to post videos and pictures on what is happening throughout the day before disappearing after 24 hours, was a Snap invention and is considered as Snapchat’s core feature.
Indeed, market watchers have put much of Snap’s recent growth struggles down to Facebook’s success in copying its rival.
Spiegel was however defiant, stating that Snapchat’s success was not based on a bunch of core features, but it instead had “an underlying philosophy that runs counter to traditional social media”.
He went on to state that Facebook’s core mission was convincing people to build a network of “friend” relationships, and this would lead to people competing “online for attention”. People would eventually turn to Snapchat when they realise they are competing with friends for likes on Facebook platforms.
“At Snapchat it’s all about building deeper relationships with the people that you’re close to,” he said.
He also said that Facebook’s imitation should be considered a compliment to Snap. “If you can create something that is so beautiful and simple that the only thing other people can do is copy it exactly, that is the most fantastic feeling,” he said.
And in another barb aimed at Facebook, he added that his rival should also copy “our data protection practices as well”, seemingly in reference to Facebook’s recent data breach scandal relating to dealings with UK-based data mining company Cambridge Analytica.
Snap’s business has been built around minimising data collection from its users, added Spiegel.
Facebook should be allowed to expand
Speaking at the same event, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company should be allowed to acquire large companies in new areas to grow without facing strict antitrust scrutiny.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked during a recent senate hearing over a data breach scandal whether Facebook had now established a monopoly status, which he denied.
The company has however grown substantially through acquisition in recent years. In 2014, it bought WhatsApp for $22 billion, and it has also acquired virtual reality firm Oculus and photo-sharing app Instagram.
Sandberg said that despite its growing size, Facebook should continue to be allowed to buy companies in the future when expanding into new segments.
“It really depends what it is,” she said. “If was something that wasn’t core to what we were doing and a new area, like Oculus was, I think we would probably be allowed.”