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viewpoint

Snap cashing out

| Friday, February 23, 2018

As many of you know, Snapchat recently did a major overhaul of its platform. This isn’t uncommon in the world of social media. Instagram has had many iterations, and Snapchat has changed over the past years to progress forward. Every time Snapchat comes out with a new update, there are people who complain. Change is different, and you can never please everyone. When best friends were removed, many took to the internet to proclaim their disappointment that you could no longer see who was whose best friends on Snapchat.

Yet, every iteration of Snapchat previously had been aimed at improving the user experience, whether other people will admit it or not. However, Snapchat is a business and has to make the money it needs to make sure that its platform has the ability to generate revenue and earnings. Prior to the current update, Snapchat had introduced a discovery platform that held sponsored content and included sponsored stories in between the regular user stories. This was created to allow more opportunities for revenue and sales, with companies coming in and buying up slots to advertise their products or services. Many people even began to use Snapchat as a way to get their news for the day, with CNN, E News and even National Geographic having regular programming on Snapchat.

Yet, with the most recent update, we saw something different from Snap, Inc. We saw an update that was purely centered around maximizing profit instead of user experience. The new update came abruptly and was met with heavy resistance that has not died down. The new clunky interface makes a whole page specified for paid content and makes finding your friends stories a “Where’s Waldo?” adventure; interspersing sponsored content with your friends’ content to attempt to mesh the two together. Many people took to the internet proclaiming Snapchat was too much like Instagram with the new update and that they would be moving off Snapchat to Instagram altogether; and for the first time, Snapchat usage went down.

As a diehard user of Snapchat, it is disheartening to see such a great platform show its true priorities. Since the update, Snapchat has made comments saying it will be changing its platform back in some ways to cater more towards the users, but the damage is already done. Snapchat saw an opportunity to create more features to gain revenue at the cost of the interface for its users, and it took it. This is something we have seen Facebook and various other social media sites do in the past; the most important part is how they handle this move going forward. Will Snapchat revert and go back to catering to its users, or will it continue to change its platform in a way that supports its growth as a business?

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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