Facebook offered $3 billion to buy the ephemeral messaging app Snapchat in 2013. Snapchats founder, Evan Spiegel, turned down the offer.

Ever since, Facebook and some of its top apps including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger have been trying to tap into the explosively popular photo-sharing features pioneered by Snapchat.

The latest sign of that came on Monday as WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application used by 1.2 billion people, unveiled a version of its Status feature that takes a significant number of cues from Snapchat. Similar to Snapchats Stories feature, WhatsApps Status now lets people share images, GIFs and videos as a status update, all of which last for 24 hours before disappearing.

The move follows a string of actions by Facebook to emulate Snapchat. In August, Instagram introduced a Stories feature that was a near exact copy of Snapchats. In December, Messenger revamped its look and feel to emphasize sending photos, just like Snapchat. As Snapchats parent company, Snap, has positioned itself as a camera company, Facebook has experimented with making a camera feature the first thing people see when opening up the social networks main app.

Even if imitation is the highest compliment, WhatsApp executives are not admitting it. We build things because we really hope people will want to use them even more, Randall Sarafa, a product manager at WhatsApp, said in an interview about the new version of Status. Avoiding any direct mention of Snapchat, he added, We dont really think about building things for other reasons.

New York Times