Snapchat is becoming the anti-Facebook

While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like thrive off the vast amounts of (often public) frenetic sharing that happens on their networks each day, Snapchat has made no secret that its users turn to it for a different type of interaction.

Snapchat has embraced this with an app that’s been far more closed off than any of its counterparts. Until Stories launched in 2013, there was no way at all for users to publicly share any updates at all and even then the feature got off to a slow start. The app eschewed other common “social” features, too.

Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel published an op-ed in Axios this morning about the direction that social media has taken over the last few years, where content from brands and influencers has been given the same weight and placement as content from friends and loved ones in users’ feeds. Spiegel also took to YouTube, for the second time in about two years, to explain how the new Snapchat works:

It’s not a drastic overhaul in the design of the app, but more a structural change on how Snap views the content its users and publishing partners produce. Now, everything that’s produced by a friend, whether it’s a chat message, a snap sent just to one person, or a 24-hour public Story, will appear when a user swipes to the right from the main screen of the app.

The restructuring comes less than a month after Spiegel first hinted at the change on the company’s quarterly earnings call on Nov. 7, partially in response to the company’s slowing revenue and user growth.

Snapchat New Layout

The new structure seems like a positive move. It’s sort of solidifying the app, which turned down $3 billion from Facebook in 2013, as the “anti-Facebook.” Facebook has muddled the line between content, news about friends, and pure internet garbage to the point where it’s become nearly impossible for the average user to know what’s important, or even true—on purpose.

Snapchat is reaffirming the value of staying connected to your friends, and enjoying news and entertainment content, but showing that the two activities should not be the same thing. Whether this restructuring will convince more people to start using Snapchat, however, is unclear.

Snapchat Map

Just look at Snap Maps, another recently launched feature that would have once been unthinkable for the company run by the notoriously private Evan Spiegel. The feature, which essentially allows any of your friends to know your exact whereabouts and who you are with at any given time (you can opt out, too), is a far cry from Snapchat’s roots as a private messaging app for teens sharing naughty photos.

Creepy as it is though, Snap Maps serves an important purpose to the company. It makes it easier than ever for users — and advertisers for that matter — to actually find all that public-facing content Snapchat 166 million daily users are making each day.

If Snap can’t get more users, it can at least try to get more revenue out of the ones it already has, and come off looking like it has solved the fake-news problem in social media at the same time.

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