Snap Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel detailed the reasons why he believes Snapchat is better than traditional social media that keeps fueling fake news, having published a short feature on Axios earlier today in which he criticized platforms like Facebook for their role in the dissemination of sensationalist, misleading, and factually inaccurate content without specifically naming any of them. While social media giants continue struggling with trying to put a check on the constant influx of fake news without much success, Mr. Spiegel believes their core strategies for tackling the problem are wrong because their ranking algorithms almost completely rely on one's social circles, i.e. they prioritize content shared by the user's friends and family.
According to Snap's co-founder, content designed to be shared among friends isn't automatically suitable for conveying factually accurate information. This particular remark is the strongest hint that Mr. Spiegel was directly critical of Facebook that's been unapologetically copying various features from Snapchat for years now and whose content algorithms operate in a fashion similar to the one described by him on Wednesday. According to Snap's chief, Snapchat isn't a social media service despite often being considered as such, with the 27-year-old stating that the popular app was primarily designed for direct communication with friends that isn't under public scrutiny, hence not only being free from judgment, but also from the pressure of accumulating validation in the form of comments or digital points such as likes.
Snapchat's algorithms have been developed to cater to the user's interest instead of interests of their friends and family, thus delivering a more personal solution and one that's significantly less likely to participate in the dissemination of fake news fueled by people sharing content they haven't even read, Mr. Spiegel said. Snap is currently leveraging various machine learning algorithms that analyze one's history of viewed content in order to deliver personalized recommendations, with the company's CEO likening them to Netflix's curation strategy but noting that such solutions will still be programmed to account for human behavior in order to prevent "algorithms taking over."
The upcoming redesign of Snapchat that the firm announced as part of its latest financials will draw a line between the "social" and "media" aspects of the app in order to deliver a stream of content that's both personalized and reliable, Mr. Spiegel said, once again suggesting that the service will end up implementing some kind of a news feed that it lacked since its inception in 2011. Such a move would still put Snapchat closer to traditional social media, so it remains to be seen how Snap will end up balancing its ambition to continue boasting about its uniqueness while simultaneously starting to adopt some conventional social features which could revitalize its stagnating growth.