Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel didn’t mince words on why people should look to Snapchat rather than Instagram, saying the Facebook-owned picture app makes users feel “terrible.”
“What people are experiencing on Instagram is, they don’t feel good about themselves. It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity,” Spiegel said on Thursday.
The 28-year-old exec responded to a question from Andrew Ross Sorkin at Dealbook Conference in New York City. Sorkin asked how Snap has responded to Instagram “aping” — a polite way of saying “copying” — several Snapchat features — most notably Stories, its 24-hour pictures and video thread. Spiegel said Snap would’ve been better served showing why Snapchat was different from Instagram.
“If we could do it over again, in hindsight, we probably would’ve done more to communicate, as you’ve said, how Snap is so different,” Spiegel said. “Because I think the most dangerous thing is, for people who haven’t experienced Snapchat yet, if they believe they’re getting the Snapchat experience on Instagram, they’re less likely to go try that experience on Snapchat.”
There’s evidence to back up Spiegel’s claim Instagram is “terrible” for its users. A study from Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health last year ranked Instagram the worst social media app for mental wellbeing. Instagram seems to be fully aware of this, with the company looking to add several members to its Wellbeing Team earlier this year, according to Quartz.
Snapchat’s user base has declined in back-to-back quarters, falling to 186 million daily users when the company reported its Q3 financials last week. Instagram, on the other hand, reported it has 400 million daily Stories users earlier this year. Still, despite the rivalry, Spiegel told Sorkin he’d “of course” grab a beer with recently departed Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.