Back in November of 2017, Snapchat announced a major update to the app that kept the press and users alike anxious to learn more. When the “major update” happened, most users hardly noticed the difference between the pre and post updated version of the app. In fact, users who don’t pay attention to the trades would have arguably not known that an update had even occurred. Unfortunately, 2018 has brought a complete revamp of the app, and the changes were hardly teased this time around. In true Snap Inc. fashion, big press surrounded minimal changes while little to no press gave the heads up to a fundamental shift for the app.
Snapchat (now Snap Inc.) is arguably the most changed social media app of them all if one looks at the function and interface of Snapchat when it originated compared to what it is now. Each update comes with its fair share of griping, yes, but no update has ever received the onslaught of backlash and criticism that this one has. Everything about the flow and design of the app has changed, leaving even the most savvy of us feeling like a baby boomer trying to figure out how to code. The update in question has been rolling out worldwide all February, and each roll out seems to be sparking a new wave of criticism.
The Snap Inc. redesign more closely reflects the redesign that was announced this past November, with the rollout being later than originally anticipated. The biggest change with the app is the separation of content created by friends from the content created by companies, celebrities, and brands. With this separation, there is no easily accessible ‘timeline’ where you can go through friends’ stories based upon the first letter of their username. The first interface is where you both send, receive, and scroll through stories and private snaps with your friends, which was previously on two separate interfaces. The second interface is now a stories section that has a mixture of content from celebrities and brands as highlighted above. What users are having the most trouble becoming accustomed to is the fact that their friends’ stories, and their personal sent and received snaps are all bundled together on the same timeline- leading to unorganized confusion.
Kylie Jenner chimed in on the confusion surrounding the Snapchat update, and what she had to say was not positive. She said what everyone was thinking, and a petition was even created online garnering over 1.2 million signatures against the redesign.
After prolonged silence in response to the celebrity complaints and the petition, Snap Inc. finally responded stating that they would take users feedback to heart and modify certain elements of the redesign, but that the most recent update was only the beginning of a larger rollout of updates for the app.
Ironically, right after the Snap Inc. interface changed, Evan Spiegel sold over $50 million of his shares in the company. While it has been noted that the sale of these shares had been pre-planned, it is an interesting time for Spiegel to be selling given the harsh backlash to the app’s updates. The CEO and founder of the company did note that he felt closer to the app than ever after the most recent series of updates, but that they took time for the user to learn how to successfully navigate. In a world where social media platforms are competing fiercely for a user’s attention, it is an interesting series of responses and actions from Snap Inc. and Spiegel himself given the overwhelming backlash the update has received.