The controversial redesign of Snapchat is a reminder that celebrities aren't your friends, Snap Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel said Thursday at San Francisco-based Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. The revamped version of the app separates the content created by brands and celebrities from that posted by one's friends, having consequently reduced the potential reach of Snapchat's publishers, though the company insists its move will be beneficial for the future of the service. Following the update that's presently being rolled out to users on a global level and is expected to take at least several more weeks to be completed, Snapchat will do a better job at differentiating itself from its main rival Instagram which mixes content from one's friends and brands into a single feed, regardless of the media format.
The change prompted significant public backlash, with some users even starting a petition to convince Snap to revert its move and bring back the old interface. Despite over a million people pushing against the redesign at change.org, the messaging company has no intention of doing so, as revealed by Mr. Spiegel yesterday. The Snap CEO said the fact that people are complaining about not feeling like celebrities are their friends anymore validates the firm's choice, implying Snap's attempt at "separating social from media" is working as intended. The high-profile petition wasn't focused on that split but the fact that the app's new version only presents content in two feeds, assigning it based on whether the user knows the people who posted it or not. In practice, the personal part of Snapchat is now filled with everything from direct messages and stories to individual snaps, making for a chaotic browsing experience, some users argued.
While Snap recently promised to streamline its mobile offering in order to attract more users, not all industry watchers are convinced the new redesign is an effective way of doing so. The firm attracted nearly nine million new people to its platform in the final quarter of 2017 but the true effects of the redesign likely won't be observable before its next financial report as the change only started rolling out to an extremely limited number of users in December. The Venice, Los Angeles-based company lost $350 million in Q4 2017, its best quarter to date.