This Is How Facebook Kills Its Competition: Buy, Deny or Apply

CNN’s Jon Sarlin explores the different ways that the social media giant has kept competitors at bay — and why that could now spell trouble.

Buy: Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and bought WhatsApp for $22 billion because in these two cases, Facebook thought it was worth it to get rid of these competitors.

Deny: Facebook denied access to Vine’s use of Facebook data, which Facebook previously encouraged other app companies to use via its API (Application Programming Interface). An API is a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service — in this case Facebook’s services.

Twitter launched Vine on January 24, 2013. When Facebook cutoff Vine’s API access on the same day that it was launced, it blocked the Vine video app’s friend-finding feature.

January 24, 2013 …

“Twitter launched Vine today, which lets you shoot multiple short video segments to make one single, 6-second video,” Osofsky wrote. “Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today, ” wrote Facebook executive Justin Osofsky

“Yup, go for it,” replied Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Other potential competitors were also cut off.

Apply: Facebook tried to buy Snapchat, but failed. In response, Facebook copied what Snapchat did best and put functions in Facebook and Instagram. A short time after Facebook applied (copied) Snapchat functions, the number of Snapchat users declined for the first time early 2018.

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