Many of the services Facebook owns don’t broadcast the fact loudly. After the recent controversy surrounding WhatsApp, Snapchat users want to know if Facebook owns that company too. With the increasing awareness around privacy, more and more people are starting to be discerning about their personal data and how it’s used. So, is Snapchat owned by Facebook, or is it a separate entity?
Does Facebook own Snapchat?
Facebook does not own Snapchat. However, that’s not for lack of trying. Facebook reportedly made an offer of $3 billion in cash to acquire Snapchat in 2013, just as the app was starting to see a rise to popularity. Snapchat refused and remains an independent entity.
Snapchat is owned by Snap Inc., which was originally Snapchat Inc. before its rebranding in 2016. The company has had its ups and downs, but after a successful year was valued at $50 billion in October 2020. This pales in comparison to the $720 billion valuation of Facebook as of August 2020. However, Snapchat is stable enough that there’s little risk of it being acquired by another entity.
Adding to Snapchat’s stability is the company’s stock distribution. While Snap Inc. is a publicly-traded entity, 95% of the voting power is distributed between two founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. This means another entity can’t acquire enough voting power for a hostile takeover (something we’ve seen many times in tech and gaming). So, there’s no threat that Facebook will suddenly try to acquire a voting majority.
Since Snapchat shows no interest in being acquired, Facebook has openly copied features from the app. Most brazenly, the Poke app (not to be confused with the Poke action, which used to be possible on Facebook) was introduced in 2012 and was essentially a clone of Snapchat. However, it only lasted two years before Facebook closed it down.