For years, Snapchat was a one of a kind app for users who wanted to share funny series of photos from their days. Recently, though Instagram has come out with a “Stories” feature that is very similar to the Snapchat story feature, where photos and videos can be linked together for the user’s friends to view. While this sort of competition does not always pose a problem or threat, Snapchat is seeing a mass exodus of users since the new Instagram feature was rolled out.
In the past year, Snapchat introduced two racially insensitive filters, a “Bob Marley” filter that essentially showed the user in black face and an “anime” filter that makes users look like an yellow face Asian caricature. Instagram Stories does not have filters like these and is much like the early versions of Snapchat. If Snapchat was still the only app of its kind, users would be more likely to air their complaints on social media or to the company but still keep the app. Now that another app acts as a more sensitive, politically correct alternative, users do not feel the need to stay.
Though Snapchat tried to play the yellow face filter off as “anime,” users who are familiar with anime characters know that this is a poor cover-up. According to Karen North, director of USC Annenberg’s Digital Social Media program, the digital age makes it hard to use excuses companies often try to rely on when they slip up, like saying users are too sensitive or they are taking things out of context. “When you’re a platform that has such broad distribution, meaning anything digital, there’s a responsibility to vet things much more carefully than people did in the brick and mortar days,” she says.
The fact that Instagram is now a kind of two for one app, users may also delete Snapchat for sheer ease of use and to save on phone storage space. Why bother keeping two similar apps on your phone when you can have one that does it all?