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Snapchat Hopes User Backlash Over Redesign Blows Over

Snap has rolled out the biggest update to the Snapchat in more than three years — and many of its users are angry and confused over the changes.

Ironically, Snap was trying to make Snapchat app easier to use with the redesign. But since the updated version (10.25) began hitting users’ phones over the course of last week, many have complained that the new interface is cluttered and makes it more difficult to share messages with their friends.

More than 560,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Snap to “Remove the new Snapchat update.” It says, in part, “Many ‘new features’ are useless or defeats [sic] the original purposes Snapchat has had for the past years.”

Snap currently has no plans to revert to the previous Snapchat app design. In a statement, a spokeswoman 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.”

It’s worth pointing out that anytime a widely used app platform makes changes — even seemingly minor ones — people tend to freak out and clamor for a return to the previous design. Over the years users have railed against updates implemented by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Netflix. Eventually the storm passes as everyone grows accustomed to the changes.

But for now, much of Snapchat’s user base is frustrated and disappointed.

Last week Chrissy Teigen weighed in on the controversy on Twitter. Quoting a user’s complaint in a tweet Friday, the model and TV personality asked rhetorically, “How many people have to hate an update for it to be reconsidered?”

Marques Brownlee, better known as YouTube tech vlogger MKBHD, said he is abandoning Snapchat given the uproar over the redesign and the app’s subpar features for discovering public content from creators. “I’m just going to leave Snapchat, because don’t see them fully embracing the discovery of the individually produced content nearly the same way something like Instagram would, as a platform as a whole,” he said in a Feb. 8 YouTube video.

The new Snapchat app still opens to the camera view. But what’s new is a dynamic Friends page, with the friends you talk to the most. The trouble, for many users, is that it doesn’t provide an easy way to see to see if they have new messages. That’s resulted in users losing their “streaks” with friends, which mark how many days in row they’ve sent snaps to each other.

Snapchatters have been voicing their displeasure in one-star reviews on Apple’s App Store.

“i’ve been using snapchat for the past 5 years every single day. but i completely hate the new update,” someone calling themselves “Swagfagespinosa” posted in a Feb. 12 review on the App Store. “it makes me not want to go on snapchat anymore, instagram stories will make snapchat be like it never happened.”

The annoyance over Snapchat’s app update comes after Snap reported its best quarter ever last week since going public. Snap topped Wall Street revenue expectations for the fourth quarter of 2017 and also posted the biggest net user addition in over a year, adding 8.9 million daily active users in the period to an average of 187 million DAUs. On the earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel said that 40 million users had the redesigned Snapchat app as of Feb. 6, and that has increased as Snap expanded the rollout last week.

According to the company, the redesigned app is Snapchat’s biggest change since it introduced Discover, which features content from media partners, in January 2015. One of the goals with the redesign was to more clearly delineate user-generated posts from professionally produced content.

The redesigned Discover page features with Stories from publishers, creators and the other users (Snap Map, Search, and Our Stories), tailored to individual users. The Discover section previously presented media content in a horizontal scroll, while the new design provides a vertical, feed-like scroll with content at the top of the feed supposedly being the stuff that’s most relevant to a user.

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