Facebook accused of copying feature from another social network and it’s not Snapchat | tech | Hindustan Times
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Facebook accused of copying feature from another social network and it’s not Snapchat

Facebook’s new audio-only posts feature may not be original.

tech Updated: Jun 09, 2018 14:50 IST
Marcia Sekhose
Marcia Sekhose
Hindustan Times
VoxWeb’s highlight is speaking pictures feature.
VoxWeb’s highlight is speaking pictures feature.(AFP)

Singapore-based social networking platform VoxWeb has accused Facebook of copying its audio-only posts feature. Facebook recently launched the audio-only posts feature in India that allows users to record and share voice messages on the platform.

VoxWeb alleged that it was the first to introduce this feature and Facebook has lifted its idea. VoxWeb launched its application in January, 2016. The platform has a user base of over 2.5 million users which is quite small in comparison with Facebook’s global reach of over 1.3 billion users. The application has more than 100,000 installs on Google’s Play Store.

The highlight of VoxWeb is what it calls ‘speaking-pic’ or ‘voice-augmented photos’. As the name suggests, this feature allows users to choose a photo from their phone and record an audio along with it. You can also customise the photos by adding emoji, text or doodles – similar to Facebook’s new voice posts feature.

Facebook’s audio-only Stories also come with tools to add a background colour, image and sticker of their choice. On Facebook, users can record voice posts up to 20 seconds and share it as a Story or on their News Feed as well.

Facebook did not respond to our queries.

VoxWeb says it does not intend to take a legal action against Facebook. The company said it has filed for a patent in the US for its features.

Yash Mishra, founder and CEO of VoxWeb adds that the company will instead focus on developing its “innovative feature pipe-line to keep VoxWeb ahead of the curve for at least the next 48 months.” Yash further adds, “This is the only way you can make a product future-proof and safe from incumbent old platforms.”

VoxWeb says that majority of its users are from Asia but there are no specific numbers for India. However with India “being the largest geography”, the company believes is the key reason Facebook has announced its new feature here first.

A side-by-side comparison of audio posts features on VoxWeb (L) and Facebook (R). (HT Photo)

Facebook copying features
It’s not the first time when Facebook has been accused of copying a feature from other social networking platforms. Over the months, Facebook has introduced various Snapchat-like features. The most popular one is Stories that is available on Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp as well as the parent platform. Instagram and WhatsApp combined have 450 million daily active users, more than Snapchat’s. Facebook has been rolling out new updates for Stories like changing the placement, cross-posting from Instagram, among others.