With over 200 million daily users, Snapchat has been of the most dominant social media apps in the last five years. The app revolutionized photo sharing with its disappearing ‘stories’ and interactive filters—features that have since been adopted by the most popular social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram. However, Snapchat’s reign as the king of ephemeral messaging apps may be over soon due to a recent poorly-received makeover and the rise of competing apps.
It all began last month when Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company, released an update that gave the app a complete makeover. The update drew instant criticism from long-time users, claiming it makes it more difficult to access the features the app has been known for, especially its famous ‘stories’ feature. In fact, there’s not even a ‘Stories’ page anymore. The ‘stories’ and ‘chat’ features have been combined into one and are now accessed by swiping right to the new ‘Friends’ page. The other big change is the ‘Discover’ page accessed by swiping left from the home screen. On ‘Discover’ you can see paid-for content produced by brands, publications, or social media influencers.
Upon its release, the company claimed the new update would “make it easier to stay in touch with friends, discover new content from around the world, and just using the app in general.” But the public doesn’t see it that way. Even celebrities with large numbers of followers on the app showed their disapproval. Kylie Jenner, one of the most influential Snapchat users, took a stand tweeting out, “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me…ugh this is so sad.” Jenner’s tweet shook the platform’s market value, dropping it by $1.3 billion hours after it was posted.
The new update is largely deemed to be completely useless and considered to defeat the purpose of the app’s main attributes. Various ways to uninstall the new update and replace it with the old version of Snapchat have been posted everywhere on Twitter and Youtube. Even a petition on change.org has been started to convince Snap Inc. to reverse the unpopular update, with over 1 million signatures so far.
Snap Inc. urgently responded to the public’s backlash about their shocking transformations, confirming that some adjustments will be made to the new layout to simplify navigation throughout the app. The company quickly released ads inside Snapchat explaining the new adjustments being devised for the renovation. A new feature called “Tabs” is being created, which will aim to “make it a whole lot easier to find your friends’ Stories and chats.” It will be split up into 3 individual sections making the experience “less overwhelming” for users. Even a live streaming capability within the app was mentioned to roll out soon in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Snapchat’s main competitor, Instagram, is experiencing great results after taking a stab at the popular ‘story’ layout. Introduced less than 2 years ago, ‘Instagram Stories’ was only seen as a second-rate copy of Snapchat’s main feature at first, but Instagram has now shaped its ‘Stories’ into its own unique element, different from all other versions. In fact, since the release of its ‘Stories’ feature, the Facebook-owned company has attracted 200 million additional daily users—bringing its current total to 500 million.
Loyal Snapchat users are hopeful—yet anxious—about what the company will do next. Changes are happening fast in the ever-growing world of social media, and just like the photos shared on the app, Snapchat may disappear soon.