By Katie BennerThe New York Times
Snapchat has long mocked the conventions of social media. The messaging application initially emphasized the publications that disappeared. He encouraged users to connect with only a few friends instead of many. And he praised human editing and conservation instead of encouraging everyone to publish something.
On Wednesday, its parent company, Snap, continued that unconventional approach, revealing a redesign that effectively separates social networks and media into two parts of the Snapchat app. 19659003] When Facebook users see a giant news source of information, usually determined by what they liked and what their friends post, Snapchat users will now see, on the left side of the application, shared chats and stories with, or by, your friends. That is the social part. The right side will show content from publishers, amateur creators, celebrities and stories that Snap selects from videos and photos generated by users. That is the part of the media.
"While blurring the lines between professional content creators and their friends has been an interesting experiment on the internet, it has also produced some strange side effects (such as false news) and made us feel that we should act for our friends instead. to simply express ourselves, "said Evan Spiegel, executive director of Snap, in a blog post about the redesign, which was launched until the end of last week.
The redesign is born in part of the need. Since Snap was made public in March, its user numbers and revenues have not grown as fast as Wall Street expected. That is partly due to Snap's main rival, Facebook, which has tried to prevent users from turning to Snapchat by copying some of its most popular features.
Snap's stock has fallen below its initial public offering price, and the company still did not make money. Snap delivered a disappointing earnings report in November, which caused its shares to fall further.
Some things about Snapchat are not changing. For example, the application still opens in the phone's camera, allowing users to create and share photos and videos with friends.
But the redesign otherwise moves Snapchat even further away from a traditional social media model.
Material shown on the right side of the application, now the media side, must comply with the content and community standards, Snap has decided, whether the material is produced by a news organization, a television studio, news teams and internal stories of the company or the so-called influencers. Everything must be approved and approved by Snap.
On the contrary, those who create content do not need to be examined to distribute it widely on Facebook and Google. That has allowed the proliferation of hate speech, false news and disturbing videos on those platforms. During the presidential elections last year, Russian propagandists used Facebook, Google and Twitter to disseminate material intended to sow division and influence the outcome of the race.
"Separating social networks from the media has allowed us to build the best way to communicate with friends and the best way to see excellent content, while addressing many of the problems that plague the Internet today," Spiegel said. your blog
Philip Napoli, professor of public policy at Duke University who studies media and democracy, said Snapchat's new design would test people's willingness to adopt a social media application that relied more on human curators than on algorithms.
"I would not be surprised if there is enough consumer reaction for this to be potentially viable, especially in light of the last year," Napoli said.
Snap said he was using machine learning to understand what people like to see, based on their activity, and planned to offer them new content in line with those preferences.
There are limits on the amount of customization Snapchat will provide. In an approach similar to the way that Netflix broadly promotes some television programs and movies, Snap will continue to promote some materials, including breaking news, a new series of videos or a popular sports event, for all its users.
Human curators will also schedule the content to make sure that users' preferences do not prevent them from seeing a wide range of opinions and ideas, the company said. In addition to taking advantage of false news, this can prevent Snapchat from becoming a place that reinforces narrow thinking.