A ghost of the past?

Snapchat’s recent changes upset users


Illustration by Margaret Debenport

Story by Margaret Debenport, staff writer

Stories are different. Friend pages have disappeared. A once familiar screen has become far away lands. Snapchat’s recent efforts to make the app easier to use have proved a disappointment to many users.

In November 2017, Snapchat announced their redesign and predicted its initial unpopularity.

“There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application,” Snapchat  CEO Evan Spiegel said.

The hardest hit of criticism came when Kylie Jenner, an internet star, tweeted her disapproval of the new update.

“Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad,” Jenner said.

In the days that followed her public dismay, Snapchat lost 1.3 billion dollars in market value. The recent changes were in response to the decline of daily users and the struggle as a public company.

“One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback,” Spiegel said.

While some display their unhappiness, others do not feel the need for the uproar.

“I think people are being dramatic about it. I still watch the Snapchat stories, just not as much. Honestly, it got me off my phone,” sophomore Haley Mitchmore said.

Updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in.”

— Evan Spiegel

The redesign included a move of the “Friends” screen to where your chats show up, as well as setting your friends’ story apart from the stories of celebrities and publishers. The idea behind this move was to make a clear division of friends and news sources to try and present friends’ stories as more personal, and news stories as separate from the users’ life.

Students who enjoyed the app before the remodel are learning to live with the changes.

“Overall, I don’t hate it. I’m actually starting to get used to it,” senior Courtney Lorens said.

Although 1.2 million people signed a petition to reverse the update, Snapchat remains hopeful that the changes will produce long term growth.

 “Updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in,” Spiegel said.