After revamping its app in March with so-called ‘Auto-Advance Stories’, in which clips now play in an unceasing sequence, Snapchat is reportedly considering adding an algorithm into the mix. While the decision to move from a chronological display to an algorithmic one based on users’ projected preferences has been a common eventuality for major social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it is one that is often met with much user consternation.
Snapchat is currently developing an algorithm that would curate the order in which users see Stories from the publishers and brands that they follow, according to Digiday. Development started at the beginning of this year, the outlet reports, though it is unknown when such a change might go into effect.
In addition to friends and family members, users can also follow the accounts of their favorite publishers and brands on Snapchat, and it is precisely these professional accounts that the algorithm would impact, according to Digiday. At the same time, Snapchat is rumored to be considering offering promoted account ads, which would let brands pay for visibility within users’ feeds.
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It is unclear what kind of impact any of these changes would have on Snapchat’s Discover page, where content created by a select group of publishers like Comedy Central, The Wall Street Journal, and Refinery29 is offered up daily. Snapchat says it has 10 billion video views every day and 100 million daily active Snapchatters — the majority of whom are between the ages of 13 and 34.
News of impending algorithms are often met with overwhelming panic by a platform’s user base, which usually subsides rather quickly. Most recently, right before Instagram’s algorithm was slated to go live in March, the #TurnMeOn hashtag was born, whereby creators begged their followers to switch on notifications so that future posts wouldn’t get lost in the fray. It also spawned a petition on Change.org that garnered more than 300,000 signatures.