Snapchat promised investors that it would launch a major redesign update earlier this month and has now followed through, separating people from publishers, splitting social from media. The company’s ad products will not be affected, meaning that Stories ads, Lenses and filters will all function as they have in the past.
In a blog post released today, Snapchat promised that it is departing from the integrated-content approach taken by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—every other social network—blaming it for the fake news crisis specifically and social performance-caused discontent in general.
“This means that the Chats and Stories from your friends are on the left side of Snapchat, and the Stories from publishers, creators and the community are on the right,” the post reads.
For the confused users, Snap’s co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel released a 62-second video outlining the changes, but for the most part they’re self-explanatory. In essence, Snapchat is just moving friend Stories from the Discover tab to the Friends tab.
Despite Spiegel’s language about moving away from traditional social media business practices, other changes in the Snapchat update see the company falling further in line. The company will begin to algorithmically sort both its Friends and Discover pages for users on an individual basis, something that Facebook and Twitter have done for years.
Though the blog post promises that Discover content will continue to be reviewed by real humans, this algorithmic filtering of content has been attributed by many, including Bill Gates, to be the source of the spread of “fake news” that Snapchat blames on “blurring lines between professional content creators and your friends.”
It’s no secret that investors have expressed concerns over the app’s usability, and this is likewise not the first time that a Snapchat update has implemented technology long used by other social media companies.
This update only further brings to light Snapchat’s ongoing identity crisis. While Facebook just yesterday promised to provide sponsored content as indistinguishable from user posts as possible, Snapchat is widening the divide between communication and community. Is the app a photo-sharing service or a video-content delivery platform?
“Separating social from media has allowed us to build the best way to communicate with friends and the best way to watch great content,” the blog post reads. “And, as always, Snapchat opens to the Camera.”
According to Spiegel, the answer is both, though the ties that bind them together are tenuous.