Snapchat Responds to Petition Against Redesign

Snapchat
Snapchat redesign

The "Remove the new Snapchat Update" petition on Change.org has received 1.2 million signatures.

More than 1 million people have signed a petition asking Snapchat to do away with the redesign that it began rolling out to users at the beginning of the year. 

Snapchat's response? You'll adapt. 

In a Wednesday response to a Change.org petition titled "Remove the new Snapchat Update" that has 1.2 million signatures, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. wrote, "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."

The company went on to explain that many of the features of its freshly designed app — which has separated posts and messages from friends and more professionally produced content — will get better over time. The Friends page, for instance, will learn which people users interact with more frequently and place them at the top of the list. The Discover page, meanwhile, will show content from brands that a user is most interested in. Other soon-to-come updates will make it easier to customize the experience. 

"This new foundation is just the beginning, and we will always listen closely to find new ways to make the service better for everyone," the response continued. "We are grateful for your enthusiasm and creativity. We are very excited for what's ahead." 

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced the redesign in November, explaining, "One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback." The move was widely seen as an effort by Snapchat, long beloved by teens and tweens but less understood by adults who gravitate toward more established platforms like Facebook, to staunch user growth declines and broaden its userbase. 

Spiegel also acknowledged that the redesign could hurt the app in the short term. When social media platforms change their design, they regularly receive a backlash from their core users. Facebook famously faced a huge revolt after it introduced the News Feed in 2006. Today, most of its 2 billion users can't remember a time without it. 

For Snapchat, the redesign is critical to the future of the business. The seven-year-old company spent the last year watching as its stock sunk further and further following its $3.4 billion IPO. Concerns set in that the company would become more like Twitter, which has struggled to broaden its base, than Facebook. 

Those worries subsided somewhat when Snap reported Feb. 6 that it added nearly 9 million daily active users during the last three months of 2017, bringing its total audience to 187 million. (That's still significantly smaller than Instagram's 500 million daily users.)

Snapchat will now have to wait and see how its redesign impacts that growth. The backlash to the changes has been strong. But the 1.2 million people who have signed the petition represent less than 1 percent of the app's overall userbase, a sign that the vocal group of dissenters may not represent the opinion of the majority of Snapchat's audience. 

Petition organizer Nic Rumsey tells The Hollywood Reporter via Snapchat message that he will wait until the updates that Snapchat references and "if users are still unhappy with it then, we'll try to push the petition forward again, with more explicit wording." 

Feb. 21, 4:37 p.m. Updated with comment from Rumsey.