Snapchat’s Redesign Will Separate ‘Social From the Media”

Friends to the left, curated news and social content to the right

Last Updated: November 29, 2017 @ 9:18 AM

Snapchat 2.0 is ready to launch.

Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel made waves earlier this month when he announced his trailblazing app would undergo a major redesign to combat lagging user growth and “make it easier to use.”

That redesign will start rolling out to certain users on Friday and continue in the weeks ahead, with Snapchat still opening to the camera.

But now, swiping to the left will pull up all of your friends’ Stories and messages, while swiping to the right showcases a curated Discovery tab with Stories from Snap’s publishing partners, social stars, and Snap Map. (Check out the demo video below for a look.)

The biggest change here — beyond splitting content to each side — is Snapchat’s investment in algorithm-driven curation. Rather than looking at Stories in a chronological order, users will now be hit first with content from the friends and Stories they interact with most. If this sounds like Snapchat is taking a page out of Instagram’s book, for once, that’s because it is.

“The Snapchat solution is to rely on algorithms based on your interests — not on the interests of ‘friends’ — and to make sure media companies also profit off the content they produce for our Discover platform,” Spiegel wrote on Axios on Wednedsay. “We think this helps guard against fake news and mindless scrambles for friends or unworthy distractions.”

Spiegel added the curated model follows in the footsteps of Netflix, where recommending content on your “own past behavior is a far better predictor” of what you want to see. Snapchat’s Discover page will be filled with content chosen by its editorial team, with a renewed emphasis on social creators — something the platform has been accused of “shunning” in the past.

Even if the redesign fails to draw millions of new users to Snapchat, its switch to an algorithm-based presentation of Stories and content could keep Snapchatters on the app longer — and looking at more ads. As Spiegel put it, Snapchat is now “separating the social from the media”; its a calculated gamble the company hopes will jumpstart a better 2018 for Snapchat.