Snapchat Reconsiders Its Redesign after Outcry

Late last year, Snapchat unveiled a number of changes to the design of its immensely popular photo and video sharing platform. The idea behind the switch was to separate content produced by a user’s friends from content made by media companies and celebrities. In practice, however, this amounted to Snapchat splitting their users’ feeds in two.

The social media reaction to the redesign started out negative and only got worse as time passed. Along with the more than 1.25 million people who signed a petition to scrap the changes, important celebrity influencers also voiced their criticisms of Snapchat’s new format. In one particularly harsh instance, Kylie Jenner called the redesign “sad” and said that she hardly opened the app anymore. Analysts claim her statement contributed to a 7.2 percent drop in Snapchat’s stock that wiped out $1.3 billion in market value.

The company’s financial situation hasn’t improved since then. Snapchat recently released a report saying that it had failed to hit key revenue and user growth goals, which sent its stock plunging a further 20 percent. In an effort to halt this downward spiral, earlier this month Snapchat announced that it would reconfigure some aspects of its new design. Along with moving content from friends back into the media feed, the company has also restored the reverse-chronological posting order that users grew accustomed to over the years. Still, only time will tell if these changes will be enough to attract former Snapchat users back from rivals like Instagram.

Questions:

  1. Why do you think users reacted so negatively to Snapchat’s redesign?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of celebrity influencers for social media platforms like Snapchat?

Sources: Hamza Shaban, “Snapchat Rolls Out a Redesign of Its Redesign,” The Washington Post, May 11, 2018; Nellie Bowles, “Snap to Tweak Snapchat’s Redesign After Users Complain,” The New York Times, May 1, 2018.

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