Facebook has been consistently trying to beat Snapchat but it has not been successful. The lure of monopolizing the picture and video messaging race is such that Facebook is finding it hard to resist it. In 2012, it launched the Poke app that allowed users to share messages, photos, or videos that vanished after 10 seconds. The idea failed miserably.
Not deterred by the response, in May 2014, the company sorted out this, but still people refused to take notice of this. This made the impression that Facebook is taking Poke lightly. After some time, it launched Slingshot having the ephemeral feature of Snapchat. But it also did not work out well.
Repeated failures have not deterred Facebook from making fresh attempts to beat Snapchat. It has built another Snapchat clone named Flash if a report from Recode is to be believed. While the app is not much different from Poke and Slingshot, but it has been geared towards developing markets. This has been developed by those team that build apps for developing countries. It takes not more than 25MB in storage space which is much less than 70MB taken by Snapchat. It even works in areas where internet connectivity is limited. This means, people in countries like India or Brazil, can share and send photos even with a weak internet connection.
It seems that Facebook has realized that it can’t challenge the dominance of Snapchat in the USA and other developed countries. So it has tried to change the battleground in the war. The birth of Flash is to beat Snapchat in the developing nations. It has recently tried to acquire Snow, which is known as “Asia’s Snapchat,” developed by Navver, a Korean firm. Though, the deal finally flopped.
At Facebook’s earnings callrecently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share. Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share.”
Facebook is trying hard to take a sizeable share in the ephemeral messaging app market. It will be important to see will it be able to do that or not.
According to ReCode, “Zuckerberg is clearly trying to cut Snapchat off on all sides — it’s testing camera-first features in Facebook’s core app, copied Snapchat Stories inside of Instagram, and now it’s racing Snapchat to emerging markets, where Facebook has already proven it knows how to grow a user base.” Facebook has recently added many of Snapchat’s features such as selfie filters and some other features.
Observers, however, believe that Facebook will not be able to beat Snapchat in emerging market and it does not have stronghold in those areas. If teenagers in India get a lightweight version of Snapchat that does not take much space, Flash will not be able to take on.