The Feature Fiasco

Controversy arises as a result of features being taken from one app to another


Photo by G. Proctor

TikTok and BeReal have filled their space among the leaders of social media apps.

George Proctor, Opinion/Editorial Editor

Whether it’s watching informative videos on YouTube, scrolling through clips on TikTok or messaging friends on Snapchat, social media has become a necessary part of every day life. Every now and again, a new social media platform rises in the ranks of popularity with a unique idea gripping everyone’s attention, leaving the ordinarily popular applications out of the spotlight. Before long, that previously one-of-a-kind feature can be seen on countless other platforms, degrading the individuality of the app. 

In 2013, Snapchat released a brand-new way of posting pictures in which after 24 hours, the photos disappeared and could not be viewed again, in contrast to Instagram’s posts that remained on one’s feed forever. Three years later, the feature was brought to Instagram, bringing the app backlash for directly copying the idea. Since then, the feature has spread like wildfire, being brought to Twitter, Facebook and even Pinterest.  

Madelyn Stephens (10) does not like that features are transferred from app to app. 

“I think that apps adopting other apps’ features can get annoying and just overall basic because I use that app for that specific reason and when all of them start to get it, the value of the app isn’t as important to me anymore,” Stephens said. 

Since YouTube’s creation, users have been engrossed with the platform’s videos whether it’s an educational commentary or a funny animal video. After years of being the leading video platform, a fresh format of quick, six-second-long videos arose with Vine, gaining heaps of popularity. The app soon shut down, with the same idea being presented with, which turned into the social media legend known as TikTok. Before long, the format of short, easy-to-watch videos could be found with YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and Snapchat Spotlight.  

Rachel Owensby (10) finds that sometimes she has trouble adjusting to the many added features on apps. 

“I don’t hate when there are new features because some of them really do help me manage apps easier, but I feel like companies put too many different features out there at once,” Owensby said. 

Over the past year, the social media world has been taken by storm with the introduction of a supposed ‘real’ social media: BeReal. The app presents users with a daily two-minute window to post a picture of what they are doing at that very moment. The app captures the photo with both the user’s front and back camera, a feature not often seen on other platforms. Starting in August, Snapchat released a new feature to the app merely identical to the dual-camera method shown on BeReal. Less than a month later, TikTok unveiled their twist on the app with TikTok Now, which uses the same dual-camera feature and short, random time frame as the original, with the only significant twist being the ability to upload both pictures and short videos in contrast to BeReal’s single-frame option.  

Wilson Moreno (9) is a user of Instagram and does not find the transfer of features to necessarily be a negative thing.  

“I think that it is a bit annoying, but it’s also cool that you can see stuff you don’t see on the app regularly,” Moreno said.