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Snapchat needs to evolve—or it’ll be brutally slaughtered by Facebook.

For Facebook, Snapchat isn’t an app to be feared.

It’s a feature to be absorbed.

The world’s largest social network  relentlessly taunts Snap Inc., their much-smaller competitor, known mostly for its disappearing messages app, by lifting Snap’s core functionality, and dumping it into a variety of products it doesn’t really belong.

Who knows what Facebook’s really thinking—the company tends to promote its features with fluff about letting you “share all the moments of your day“—but the ripoffs are almost certainly less about providing a service to users, and much more about outright killing Snapchat.

Some important background: An article in Bloomberg last year said Facebook was in a froth over a decline in “personal sharing” on its social network, which is used by 1.23 billion people every day. (Snapchat’s got 158 million daily users, its IPO filing revealed.) Personal sharing’s important: Your News Feed can’t just be a wasteland of viral videos and news about Hillary Clinton harvesting baby organs or whatever—you return to Facebook to see what your friends are up to.

When friends post personal statuses or pictures, it encourages you to do the same. Then Facebook has a nice crop of eager content-sharers to serve highly personalized ads to. Then, Facebook makes several billion dollars. Great!

The rub for Facebook, here, is that Snapchat’s all about intimate moments (and body parts) shared between friends (and lovers). You can take a snap of whatever, send it to whomever, and you don’t have to worry about your aunt or kid seeing it—as you do on Facebook. It’s a popular idea, and at the time of the Bloomberg report, Snapchat was enjoying explosive growth in its user base:

This lovely graph shows Snapchat's robust growth over a couple of years ending in December 2015.

 

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