Snap has officially responded to a hugely popular Change.org petition calling for the company to walk back the recent redesign of Snapchat. In a message signed by the Snapchat team and posted as a reply to the petition, the company says it’s heard the feedback loud and clear and that it acknowledges how the “new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many.” The petition was signed by more than 1.2 million people, a milestone that perhaps prompted Snap leadership to draft a response.
However, Snap essentially goes on in its reply to say tough luck, echoing comments made by CEO Evan Spiegel last week. The company tries to reassure users that the new Snapchat will adapt to them over time, and it also teased a new feature coming soon for iOS and Android that will make it easier to customize your own personal Snapchat with tabs for the Friends and Discover sections of the app. But ultimately it sounds like Snap is saying that its leadership thought long and hard about the redesign and has no intention of reversing the shift.
The reply is basically a more congenial repetition of what Spiegel said at the Goldman Sachs Internet & Technology Conference on Thursday last week, in which he defended the redesign. “The complaints we’re seeing reinforce the philosophy. Even the frustrations we’re seeing really validate those changes,” Spiegel said. “It’ll take time for people to adjust, but for me, using it for a couple months, I feel way more attached to the service.”
A big focus of the redesign was to make Snapchat more palatable to a wider audience, both geographically and with respect to age. Snap needs to add more users and keep its app competitive with Facebook and Facebook-owned properties like Instagram, or else Snap risks turning into the next Twitter — meaning its product hardly grows and executive leadership mostly grasps around in the dark for a viable new strategy to turn a profit.
Following the redesign, but not explicitly because of it, Snap posted its first ever better-than-expected quarterly earnings. So while it will take time to see if the redesign truly helps Snap overcome some of its bigger structural hurdles, it’s safe to say the redesign is here to stay for the foreseeable future, 1 million Change.org petitioners be damned.
Here’s the full text of Snap’s response:
We hear you, and appreciate that you took the time to let us know how you feel. We completely understand the new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many.
By putting everything from your friends in one place, our goal was to make it easier to connect with the people you care about most. The new Friends page will adapt to you and get smarter over time, reflecting who you’re most likely to be Snapping with at that moment. This same personalization is also true of the new Discover, which will adapt to you the more that you use it.
Beginning soon on iOS, and with Android in the coming weeks, we are introducing tabs in Friends and Discover, which will make it easier to find the Stories that you want, when you want them. Once you receive the update, you’ll be able to sort things like Stories, Group Chats, and Subscriptions, allowing you to further customize your own experience on the app.
This new foundation is just the beginning, and we will always listen closely to find new ways to make the service better for everyone. We are grateful for your enthusiasm and creativity. We are very excited for what’s ahead.