Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application created by former Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. The app was developed by Snap Inc., which was originally Snapchat Inc. The initial release date for the first Snapchat was September 2011, and they have come leaps and bounds since then, until their recent update.
One million people have signed a petition calling on Snapchat to roll back its latest redesign. The changes to the platform where made with the objective of separating interactions with friends from branded content, including influencers, bloggers, and celebrities. Evan Spiegel, founder of Snapchat, wrote in a recent blog that he believed that blurring the lines between the two has contributed to the rise and continued spread of fake news.
MD of influencer marketing agency PMYB, Rohan Midha, told the BBC that Snapchat had made a "mistake" in removing celebrities and influencers, who are seriously high profile individuals with lots of followers, from the "friends" section. "They hadn't realised the value that influencers add," he said. "People want to follow influencers because they really like them, whereas Snapchat just sees them as brands." However Midha added that he didn't think the petition would force Snapchat into a "u-turn". "It doesn't surprise me that so many people have signed it," he said.
Snapchat users now swipe left to engage with their friends, and swipe right to see brand and celebrity content. Model Chrissie Teigen tweeted that she didn't like that her followers and fans no longer felt like "friends". This gives us a sense that even celebrities want to add a personal touch to their digital voice and that they didn't sign up for this either. "How many people have to hate an update for it to be reconsidered?" she asked.
One of several petitions on change.org appealing to Snapchat to revert to the previous version include one started by Nic Rumsey who wrote that there are people with VPN apps which use servers abroad to mask device locations with the purpose of accessing an older version of the platform. He says this is a clear indication of how "annoying" the update has become and the extremes to which avid users will go to avoid it.
Snapchat reiterated its previous statements that all software updates "can take a little getting used to" and that they hoped the Snapchat community will enjoy the user experience once they have settled in. Basically telling Snapchat users to get over it. The bottom line is that many think this large Silicon Valley company isn't going to take much notice of a petition.