Snapchat is separating what friends share and what media organisations publish in an attempt to appeal to a broader range of users. Users will now see two separate feeds. Before the visual-messaging app was mixing posts from friends, publishers, celebrities and others, much the way Twitter, Facebook and other rivals continue to do.
Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel took a jab at rivals, writing that social media “fuelled ‘fake news’” because of this content mixing. “After all, how many times have you shared something you’ve never bothered to read?” Spiegel wrote on Axios.
Snapchat has not been gaining enough users, especially beyond its core of younger people. Instead, rival services have managed to copy Snapchat’s most popular features and make them available to a broader audience. This includes Stories, a way to show photo and video snippets that disappear after 24 hours; Snapchat pioneered it, while Facebook’s Instagram popularised it.
With growth stagnant, parent company Snap’s stock is down sharply since its initial public offering earlier this year. Snap hinted at changes three weeks ago but didn’t provide details then. Beyond separating feeds, Snapchat will now order posts using a formula to try to appeal to users’ likes, instead of listing them chronologically. Facebook has long done that; Twitter and Instagram followed more recently.
Even so, Spiegel seems determined to set Snapchat apart from its bigger rivals. When users open Snapchat, for instance, they will still see the app’s camera first. “Snapchat began as an escape from social media, where people could send photos and videos to their friends without the pressure of likes, comments, and permanence,” Spiegel wrote.