04:10 GMT28 January 2020
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    More than 187 million people use Snapchat globally but many of them have been left mightily annoyed by an update of the app. Sputnik spoke to one angry Snapchat user and also to Matt Navarra, director of social media at The Next Web, who said Snapchat had upset many of its core users at a time when it needed to hang on to them.

    More than 1.2 million Snapchat users have signed a petition urging the US company to reverse the update it rolled out earlier this month.

    Snapchat users are up in arms over a change to the service with means branded content like celebrities and "influencers" is more prominent, at the expense of content from their friends.

    The petition was launched last week and urged Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel to reverse the change.

    "The new update presumes you want to see the Snapchat stories that are trending but it's all reality stars and rubbish," Snapchat user Beth Fox told Sputnik.

    "It's confusing now to view your friends' stories if you haven't had a recent chat with them. Everything is just more long-winded," she told Sputnik.

    Many Users Switching to Instagram

    Miss Fox, who has signed the petition, said many of her friends were switching from Snapchat to Instagram because of the update.

    "Snapchat is used to criticism about its app's design and usability. Its old design was the constant butt of jokes by a generation of people who just didn't get how to use it," said Matt Navarra, director of Social Media, at The Next Web.

    "The new design has generated a significant amount of upset and anger amongst its core users at a time when Snapchat really needs to cling on tight to its remaining fans," Mr. Navarra told Sputnik.

    ​"Evan Spiegel recently commented on the uproar about that the new design, pretty much saying it's here to stay and that the changes made are working as expected. He suggested he has no intention of rolling back the changes. I can't see him backtracking on that statement at all," Mr. Navarra told Sputnik.

    "He feels strongly about one of the things Snapchat users are most irritated by — the splitting out of content from brands, celebrities and friends," Mr. Navarra told Sputnik.

    'Confusing and Chaotic Layout'

    "Apart from causing users to feel less 'connected' to brands and celebs they love, the confusing, chaotic and unintuitive layout of the app remains the most common criticism. Snapchat's redesign seemingly hasn't made progress at all," he told Sputnik.

    "Users will learn to live with it and acceptable the millennial status quo. Those that don't will soon jump to Snap's nemesis — Instagram. For some, that may feel like an easy switch to make," Mr. Navarra told Sputnik.

    ​Mr. Spiegel claimed the change was made because blurring the two had contributed to the rise of fake news.

    But Miss Fox said she did not believe that was the real reason.

    "I believe it's because they make money from advertisements and half the stories on the news feed are irrelevant and not newsworthy. It's a mixture of reality stars' mind-numbingly boring stories and advertisements for other apps," Miss Fox told Sputnik.

    Unsubstantiated Rumor of Update Reverse

    A rumor began circulating on the internet earlier this week claiming Snapchat had agreed to a reverse update on Tuesday, February 20 but it seems to have been unsubstantiated.

    ​A Twitter user called Isaac Svobodny claimed Snapchat had told him the changes would be withdrawn if he received 50,000 retweets. He promptly received 1.5 million. But it appears to have been an elaborate hoax,

    The redesign is the latest in a stream of bad public relations moves by the California-based company.

    Last month it emerged more than 20 Snapchat employees had been fired after large amounts of internal Snapchat data were leaked to the media in the US.

    In December a teenager was convicted of murdering Osman Sharif, 16, in Tottenham, north London, after a stupid row on Snapchat.

    When Sharif's killer was jailed for life last month Gwenton Sloley, a former gang member who now advises the Home Office and runs Crying Sons, which trains police forces on how to deal with young people and gangs, said Snapchat was not being properly policed. 

    "It's like an alien world to the police. It's an ungoverned space and the young people are taking advantage of it all over the country," Mr. Sloley told Sputnik.

    Related:

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    The Snapchat Murder: Somali Teenager's Death Gives Insight Into UK Knife Crime
    Two Albuquerque Students Suspended Over ‘Repugnant’ Racist Snapchat Photo
    Tags:
    update, app, reality television, Rubbish, social media, Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, United States, California
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