The ephemeral messaging platform announced plans to update the Snapchat app last year, saying it wanted to make it easier to use. It sought to tackle a problem that plagues other social media platforms — namely that content from influencers, celebrities and brands can drown out more intimate friends’ Stories because the content was c0mmingled.
An initial redesign separated friends’ snaps from professionally generated content. But the Snapchat redux produced backlash because it merged talk and watch behaviors on the Friends feed, which users found confusing. Celebrities, meanwhile, began defecting, perhaps because their content was less visible.
Snap began developing an iteration of the redesign that shows friends stories on the Discover page alongside content from brands, celebrities and publishers.
Friends’ content remains a separate, distinct feed from the professionally produced stuff, Snap emphasizes. But now, the all of the content a user subscribes to — say, publishers, shows or celebrity feeds — will be featured more prominently, front-and-center of the Discover page, underneath friends’ feeds. That change seemingly would address the concerns of celebrities like Kylie Jenner, who use the platform for visibility.
This approach is still in the test phase, and it’s only been introduced to a limited number of users. But it attempts to place a new emphasis on users’ behavior, not merely their relationships.
“We are always listening to our community and will continue to test updates that we hope will give Snapchatters the best possible experience on our platform,” said a Snap spokesperson.
The shifting sands at Snap caused investor backlash, with the stock trading down 7% at around $14.48 midday.