On December 21st, 2012, Facebook launched its newest app entitled “Poke” – but many soon realized that this app was not so different than one already in their pockets. Frankly, Poke was a complete copy of Snapchat – an app that allows you to send photos and videos that self-destruct within a few seconds. While most immediately recognized the sexting potential in both of these apps, the widespread use of Snapchat and now poke suggests that these are more heavily used for entertainment like sending embarrassing selfies to friends. This pervasiveness though is what differentiates the two products. While Snapchat has been around for two and a half years and is now the fourth most popular app in iTunes, Poke has yet to break the top 100. So why then would Facebook launch an app so similar and so unsuccessful?
In short, Facebook is attempting to obliterate the competition and assert its dominance among the digital-social platform. Tim Wu, a media theorist, discusses this drive of media empires and how it threatens entrepreneurship in his book The Master Switch. Here he uses the term, the Kronos Effect, to describe how dominating companies will often buy emerging ones in their infancy. Even though in this case Facebook is trying to create a pseudo app in hopes of stealing the market, they also have exhibited this purchasing model of the Kronos Effect when they bought Instagram in 2012. This hunger for power has been somewhat revealing, as it leads users to question the morals of this corporation that they have become so dependent on.
Note: all statistics came from this article from Tech Crunch Magazine.