Fred Wilson: 'Facebook Copies Everything'

Photo: Vecherniy Urgant

Fred Wilson, a New York venture capitalist whose portfolio includes Twitter and Foursquare, doesn’t seem impressed by Facebook.In a recent blog post about privacy, he called the social network an “institutionalized copycat.”

Facebook, he says, copies everything, even applications that are meant to be alternatives to Facebook like Snapchat.

Snapchat is a photo app that lets users send images to each other but it doesn’t save them for very long in its system. The promise of Snapchat is that a photo shared over its platform will never surface on the web. Users can also write messages on top of the photos.

Facebook made an exact replica of Snapchat, Poke, in response to the startup’s success.

Wilson writes:

“The debate [we had at dinner] was about whether the feature that makes Snapchat special (you know your photos won’t end up on Facebook) is the basis for a standalone app and business. My view, having lived through this debate with Twitter and Foursquare, is that mobile apps are features in the mobile OS and that Snapchat can and likely will own this feature in the leading mobile operating systems even though institutionalized copycats (ie Facebook who copies everything) can and will copy it. The irony that Facebook has copied a feature that is specifically designed to avoid Facebook is precious in and of itself.”

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