4 Times Facebook and Twitter Copied Each Other in 2015

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, unless you're a tech company. And in terms of social media feuds, nothing quite compares to Facebook and Twitter's ongoing battle.

Social media companies are notorious for one-upping one another and ripping off others' features, but the ongoing beef between Facebook and Twitter is perhaps the decade's ultimate tech rivalry. In 2013, Facebook launched verified Pages for celebrities, similar to Twitter's seal of approval. And Twitter is reportedly dropping its 140-character limit on tweets.

Over the past year, Twitter and Facebook have taken more than a few jabs at each other. Here are four of the most noteworthy moves.


1. Twitter swaps favorites for hearts

Twitter needs to increase its monthly active users to quiet growing concerns from Wall Street.

So, in November the site took a page from Facebook's play book and replaced its star-shaped "favorite button" with a "like" heart button, similar to the icons people click on Facebook and Instagram. The goal was to make Twitter easier for people to navigate.

"We know that at times, the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers," Twitter's product manager Akarshan Kumar wrote in a blog post. "You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite. The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures and time zones."

Marketers' reactions, on the other hand, were a mixed bag.


2. Facebook gets into livestreaming

Twitter's Periscope, along with Meerkat and YouTube, made 2015 the year that social video went live—big time.

Four months after Periscope launched, the app boasted 10 million users who watch 40 years worth of footage every day on the app.

Not to be outdone, Facebook fired back with a feature called Facebook Live Video that lets users broadcast and share their whereabouts in real time. After a small test with a handful of celebrites, live video started rolling out to Facebook's millions of users in December.


3. Twitter gives autoplay video a try

After months of speculation, Twitter finally launched autoplay video this summer, allowing marketers' clips to play as users scroll down the screen.

Facebook's in-feed videos helped popularize the autoplay format this year while also giving YouTube a run for its money. As of November, Facebook claims that people watch 8 billion videos every day on its platform.

One differentiator between the two rivals' inital video efforts: Twitter promised advertisers 100 percent viewability up front, which took Facebook a few months to catch up on.


4. Instagram is hungry for hashtags

Just as Twitter got more visual this year with its long-awaited Moments feature, Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram became more text-heavy.

In June, Instagram rolled out a tab called Explore that pulls popular hashtags together, similar to Twitter's trending topics section.

The goal is to turn Instagram into a platform to start conversations, encouraging people to "like" and comment on photos in addition to uploading their own pics and videos.

While Twitter continues to be the go-to app for chatter, Facebook is only one of a growing number of platforms—which also include Snapchat and mobile messaging apps—clamoring for brands' real-time marketing efforts.

Recommended articles