Months after releasing its most controversial update ever, Snapchat is in trouble. App users were initially upset, with many even uninstalling the app. After much heated back and forth between the community and the company, Snapchat decided to roll out what it thought was a compromise with its tabs option. This did nothing to quell the masses, and the uninstalls continued into the tens of thousands.
Snapchat derives its revenue from ads that users view. As such, every uninstall equates to less money coming in. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the company has continually operated at a net loss, meaning that, despite its still massive user base, it’s unable to take in more money than it’s earning. For a company that’s no longer a startup, especially one with minimal to no physical investment needed (things such as factories, materials, etc.) to conduct business, such continued losses are worrisome.
Further compounding the headaches for the company was the revelation that an ad for a game called “Would you Rather”, featured prominently on Snapchat, asked whether the user would want to slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown. Rihanna, as well as many other prominent figures on social media, responded sharply, accusing Snap of knowingly promoting domestic violence and profiting off of it. As was the case with the update debacle, thousands of users began uninstalling the company’s app, further denting its reputation and user base. Further apologies from the company did little to stem the bleeding.
Last week, after years of losing money and the multiple scandals, the company made an announcement that its investors feared was inevitable. In its most recent shareholder letter, Snap made the announcement: The company would be going out of business. As a result, the company’s sole product, Snapchat, would be shut down by the end of the year. In an effort to keep the customer’s information, stories and friends intact, Snap has entered into an agreement with Facebook to morph the app into Instagram and Messenger. Users would eventually be getting notifications about the announcement, and preparations would have to be made to get ready for the migration to Instagram.
Fans of the app were outraged, left wondering if switching to Instagram or another service would fill the void. When asked if he would switch to Facebook Messenger, Conner White, a senior studying theology said, “I guess I could move over to Messenger, but for real, Snapchat is where it's at. I don’t know if I could make the switch.”
Since millions of people are still coming to terms with the startling news, Snapchat will be deploying grief counseling teams across the US, as well as launching an “It’s Me, not You” website dedicated to helping people decide what to do after the company goes dark for good. In a show of kindness, MySpace has announced that it would be taking in all users that did not want to migrate over to Instagram and Messenger. Fortunately, users still have several months to choose which service to migrate to, so current users have plenty of time to Snap.
Jesse Shoghi is a junior studying computing.