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Snapchat's Evan Spiegel: Newsfeeds Came At Huge Cost 'To Facts, Our Minds And The Media Industry'

Snapchat's Evan Spiegel: Newsfeeds Came At Huge Cost 'To Facts, Our Minds And The Media Industry'

Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) CEO Evan Spiegel penned an op-ed for Axios published Wednesday in which he explained Snapchat’s redesign and the importance of carefully considering the balance between the free spread of news, the flow of opinion and the underlying algorithms that make it all work. 

Social media has revolutionized the way people interact and learn, but there has been a downside to the push for clicks, likes and content, Spiegel said. 

“Let's be honest: this came at a huge cost to facts, our minds and the entire media industry." 

The Redesign

Snapchat’s solution to the problem is to redesign its platform to separate the social aspect from media altogether. Snapchat’s news hub, Discover, will now be completely separated from users’ friends list, Spiegel said. On the redesigned Snapchat app, users can either swipe left from the main camera screen to see content generated by friends (chats, stories, messages, etc.) or swipe right to see news, the Snap Map and publisher-generated content. 

The redesigned Discover page can now be vertically scrolled similar to the feeds of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).

The redesign also addresses criticisms from users that the app is difficult to navigate and unintuitive. The new app makes friends easier to find and search.

Controlling Fake News

So-called “fake news” undermines the usefulness of social media because “content designed to be shared by friends is not necessarily content designed to deliver accurate information," Spiegel said. 

One of the major reasons so much suspect content has spread like wildfire on social media in recent years is because the algorithms that choose the content users see is based on the interest of “friends," he said. 

Instead, Siegel says Snapchat is focusing on a more personalized content model, similar to the one that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) uses to make its recommendations.

“This form of machine learning personalization gives you a set of choices that does not rely on free media or friend's recommendations and is less susceptible to outside manipulation." 

While some users might not like the idea of algorithm-sorted content, Siegel said users should remember that all algorithms are designed by humans and can specifically select news from multiple sources and points of view.

Related Links:

5 Reasons JMP Downgraded Snap (And 4 Reasons They Could Be Wrong)

8 Of The Most Popular 'Fake News' Websites

Posted-In: Evan Spiegel SnapChat social mediaNews Psychology Tech General Best of Benzinga


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