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Snapchat is one of the most popular social media apps, and it’s especially popular with millennials. In fact, recent research suggests that 71 percent of US users between the ages of 18 and 24 check the app multiple times every single day.
There’s no denying Snapchat’s influence or popularity, but it simply isn’t a very good app. In fact, it’s regularly hard to navigate. We have compiled seven of the biggest Snapchat problems here. Issues that have led this millennial to consider stopping using Snapchat.
If you’re already an active Snapchat user, you’ll want to be aware of these factors and how to avoid them. And if you haven’t already started using Snapchat? Let this list reassure you that it’s OK to leave this particular social media app alone.
1. Snapchat’s Confusing App Design
This is one of Snapchat’s biggest problems. The app, originally designed to let users share time-limited photos and videos with friends, is now a sprawling social media platform with an identity crisis.
The app still lets you send photos and videos, but its list of features now also extends to instant messaging, video calls, phone calls, photo editing, filters, Bitmoji stickers, a live feed of your friends’ location, curated content from entertainment brands and superstars, trophies, and a source of breaking world news. Almost everything, basically.
As you might imagine, it would be difficult to design an app that allows you to easily navigate between all of these features. However, Snapchat doesn’t even try. In fact, a recent update (in early 2018) even sparked a user revolt, with some people calling for a boycott of Snapchat.
The app is difficult to navigate, with very little explanation, labels, or logic provided. Your best bet to find a key setting or feature is to just swipe in every direction and hit cryptic symbols at random until you finally find what you want.
2. Snapchat’s Serious Safety and Security Flaws
This service doesn’t care about your safety—and that’s a big problem with Snapchat. From its very beginning, Snapchat encouraged a culture of “no consequences” with a 10-second limit on photos (after which they, theoretically, disappeared forever). While the internet is rarely a nice place, Snapchat quickly became a source of harassment and bullying due to a perceived lack of consequences.
Screenshots of compromising photos, cruel anonymous messages, or stalking someone based on their easily accessible location information on the Snap Map; while these certainly don’t make up the majority of Snapchat interactions, they’re too common to ignore.
If you’re an active Snapchat user, here are the best ways to stay safe:
- Enable “Ghost Mode” on the Snap Map so that no one has access to your exact GPS coordinates.
- Change your settings so that only “My Friends” can contact you and view your story. Or be very cautious about what you post.
- Report and block any user that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
3. Snapchat’s Discover Page Doesn’t Make Sense
Do you like following political activism across the globe? Then you’ll love hearing about the Kardashians’ most recent scandal! Or want to watch a live stream of baby koalas? You must also want to take a quick quiz to see what your favorite song says about your personality! And while you’re at it, how about some late-night musings from a YouTube celebrity you’ve never heard of before!
Welcome to Snapchat’s Discover page: a miscellaneous collection of branded content, blatant advertisements, and bored celebrities monologuing to their followers. Sure, you can always press and hold on a Discover story to either “subscribe” to an account or “See less like this”.
However, both options merely tweak the algorithm of your Discover feed, making it slightly more or less likely that you’ll see content like the story you selected. Neither option completely removes (nor consistently features) your chosen accounts.
4. Snapchat Is No Longer Unique
Snapchat grew its initial audience by being a fun and original app with a #NoFilter approach to sharing your life with your friends online. Now it’s just like every other social media app, with instant messaging, blatant advertisements, and social pressure to showcase only your best self.
Instead of continuing to innovate, Snapchat has stayed relatively stagnant while other platforms blatantly incorporated its key features. Now, you can send a disappearing message via WhatsApp Status, share vlogs on YouTube, post a filtered photo to your Instagram Story, share a live video over Periscope, and send instant messages over literally any other social media app.
The competition is starting to catch up with Snapchat, and it shows. According to TechCrunch, Instagram stories has almost twice as many daily active users as Snapchat. In addition, as reported by Recode, the app’s debut as an IPO in 2017 did not lead to the success most people expected.
5. Snapchat’s History of Questionable Decisions
All companies make mistakes. And, in today’s internet culture, it’s hard to avoid being called out publicly for these kinds of errors. But, few companies make quite as many controversial decisions as Snapchat.
Many of the controversies involving Snapchat revolve around Snapchat Lenses—filters applied to a user’s face before a snap is taken that alter their facial appearance in some way. Most lenses are fanciful (adding a unicorn horn or rainbow vomit) or ridiculous (face swaps and animal morphs).
However, Snapchat has made several serious missteps by designing lenses that arguably play in to racial and sexist stereotypes, with a Bob Marley filter, a Rosa Parks filter, and an anime filter that caricatured Asians all having caused controversy.
You may or may not agree with the public outcry over these filters. But in this day and age it’s hard to explain away repeated social gaffes by a company under constant scrutiny.
6. Snapchat’s Made-Up Language
Every social media platform requires its own vocabulary. After all, Facebook introduced us to ‘Likes’ and Instagram popularized ‘Filters’. But far beyond bringing the term “snap” to the public, Snapchat has its own language that requires several weeks of immersion (and a conversation with a 17-year-old) to grasp.
What’s the difference between a filter and a lens? What the heck is a Snap Map? A Snap Streak? A Snapcode? Dive a little further, and you’ll soon be faced with Bitmojis, trophies, memories, stickers, and spectacles.
Snapchat assumes that you’ll figure out these terms on your own, making any conversation about the app a minefield of potential misunderstandings.
7. Snapchat Is Difficult to Delete
So, you’re convinced. Snapchat’s a confusing platform without a point and you don’t want to use it any more. Time to simply delete your account, right?
Well, good luck with that. Getting rid of your account is another of Snapchat’s problems.
If you want to delete your Snapchat account, you’re going to have to go through a process. Your account can only be deleted from a web browser (not from the iOS or Android app), and there’s a 30-day waiting period before your app will be completely gone.
Do These Snapchat Problems Spell the End?
Snapchat has fully embraced its time in the spotlight, but its time as one of the top social networks seems to be quickly drawing to a close. Only time will tell if the company will be able to fix these issues quickly enough to maintain their users’ attention.
One thing’s for sure: this millennial is completely fed up with the app, and ready for something new.
Are you still confused by the new Snapchat update? If so, be sure to read our tips and tricks for Snapchat newbies trying to get their heads around the new-look Snapchat.