Snapchat in newsfeed challenge to Facebook

Redesign to see social media app separate friends’ pictures from professional ‘content’

Snapchat is under pressure from investors to prove its worth. Photograph: Reuters

Snapchat is under pressure from investors to prove its worth. Photograph: Reuters

 

Snapchat chief Evan Spiegel is launching a bold challenge to one of Facebook’s most successful features, its newsfeed, as part of an eagerly awaited overhaul of the photo-sharing app that the company hopes will help it to claw back market share from its social media rival.

In what is billed as its biggest redesign for years, Snapchat will separate pictures and messages posted by friends from professionally produced content from publishers, celebrities and other “influencers”.

Snap, the app’s parent company, believes that creating two distinct newsfeeds will make its service feel more intimate and easier to use. Mr Spiegel said “separating the social from the media” would make Snapchat feel “more personal”.

Wall Street, however, is desperate to see faster user growth from Snap, which is trading 20 per cent below the price at which it went public in March. The company reported in third-quarter earnings earlier this month that revenues had grown 126 per cent year-on-year to $208 million (€176 million), well short of analysts’ forecasts. Net losses had also more than tripled to $443 million, in the third successive earnings report to miss forecasts.

Jumbling posts

The move is a direct challenge to Facebook’s longstanding approach, which jumbles friends’ posts with headlines and videos from pages and publishers that users follow. “One of the complaints we’ve heard about social media is that photos and videos from your friends are mixed in with content from publishers and creators and influencers. But your friends aren’t content - they are relationships,” Mr Spiegel says in a video introducing the changes. “Today we are making it easier to find the people you want to express yourself with.”

Snapchat will push out the changes to its 178 million daily active users in the coming weeks, it announced on Wednesday.

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017