Snapchat parent Snap has redesigned its social app to draw a clear line between users’ friends and brands that the company says “separates the social from the media.”
The new look of the app sticks chats and stories from your friends to on the left side of Snapchat in a Friends page, while containing posts and stories from creators and professional publishers in a separate Discover feed on the right. This has been true to a point in the past, but the popular Stories feature previously grouped friends and brands together. In a blog post, Snap explains why it made the changes to the app:
Until now, social media has always mixed photos and videos from your friends with content from publishers and creators. While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting Internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves.
Snap also debuted a what it calls a more dynamic version of the Friends page that pushes content from close friends to the top. It uses a “more sophisticated Best Friends algorithm” to sorts friends based on how users communicate with them and understand who users talk to most.
These moves to further personalize Snapchat come as Snap looks to find new ways to pump up its user base for the flagship app. In its most recent quarterly report, Snap fell short of expectations on both daily active users and revenue, with CEO Evan Spiegel admitting that daily users grew “at a lower rate than we would have liked.” Snap is facing intense competition for users from Facebook-owned Instagram, which last year launched a Stories feature that echoed the popular Snapchat offering with the same name.
Snap hit the stock market in March with plenty of hype. The IPO valued the company at approximately $24 billion, making it the largest valuation for a U.S. tech company IPO since Facebook in 2012.
But after an initial stock surge, shares tumbled after Snap reported significant losses in multiple quarterly reports paired with sluggish user growth. Snap shares dropped slightly this morning, and the stock is down approximately 45 percent since it started trading publicly in March.
Snap has an engineering center in Seattle, and earlier this year signaled plans to expand with a big new office lease. According to its job site, Snap is hiring for a variety of engineering, research and product and project management positions in Seattle.