Snap Inc. (SNAP), the maker of the disappearing messaging app Snapchat, is facing huge backlash to changes to its app, with an online petition gaining more than 1 million signatures.
Spotted by TheStreet.com, the Change.org online petition, which urges the social media company to rethink changes it made to the app’s appearance and functionality, had more than 1.2 million signatures as of Tuesday morning (Feb. 20). In November, coming off of a lackluster quarter, the company revealed plans to overhaul the app to make it easier to use and appeal to a wider audience. One of the knocks on Snap, at least from an advertising perspective, is that ad buyers didn’t know how to use. (See more: Snap Inc. Shorts Out $681M on Strong Earnings: S3.)
At the time Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said the revamped app will have a simpler interface and a feed that focuses more on friends, taking a page from Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR). Those plans and the subsequent changes have not been well received by users and Wall Street, prompting Spiegel to defend it at a recent investor conference. During a Goldman Sachs conference last week, Spiegel said people need to get used to it. What’s more, according to a TechCrunch report about the investor conference, the executive said the backlash validates Snap’s efforts.
“The tech is an important piece but I think the harder part you can’t get around is the time it takes to learn,” Spiegel said. “You do need folks to use the product, to communicate with their friends to learn how to better provide that feed. Even the frustrations we’re seeing really validate those changes. 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.” (See also: Snap's VP of Product Announces Exit Amid Crucial Redesign Rollout.)
Despite Snap’s stance on the revamped app, lots of its users aren’t convinced and hence the more than 1 million signatures on the Change.org petition. In it, the author wrote that the new Snapchat update has left users frustrated, with many features now harder to use. “There is a general level of annoyance among users and many have decided to use a VPN app, or are using other risky apps or steps, to go back to the old Snapchat as that’s how annoying this new update has become. Many ‘new features’ are useless or defeats the original purposes Snapchat has had for the past years.”
The backlash over the update comes as Snap is starting to grow again, even surpassing Wall Street views for the last quarter of 2017. For its fourth quarter, Snap reported revenue of $285.7 million, which was higher than the $252.9 million Wall Street, according to Thomson Reuters, was looking for. The earnings loss of $0.13 a share was narrower than the $0.16 a share loss analysts expected. The social media network operator was able to add 8.9 million new users and posted 187 million daily active users in the last three months of 2017, an 18% jump year-over-year. Wall Street had expected 184.3 million daily active users.