A situation of the pot calling the kettle black? Snap CEO Spiegel has written an op-ed for Axios decrying the damage social media has done in propagating fake news and to our ability for self-expression. “The personalized newsfeed revolutionized the way people share and consume content. But let’s be honest: this came at a huge cost to facts, our minds and the entire media industry,” Spiegel wrote. “This is a challenging problem to solve because the obvious benefits that have driven the growth of social media – more friends! more likes! more free content! – are also the things that will undermine it in the long run.”
But just to be clear, when Spiegel refers to “social media” he means all the other social media companies–not his. For Spiegel suggests Snapchat isn’t really a social media company, instead it’s more of a messaging service, like texting. This despite Snapchat allowing you to follow both people you know and people and companies you don’t–just like other social media apps do.
One valid point Spiegel does have is this: “The Snapchat solution is to rely on algorithms based on your interests – not on the interests of “friends”–“and to make sure media companies also profit off the content they produce for our Discover platform. We think this helps guard against fake news and mindless scrambles for friends or unworthy distractions.” Snapchat has, without a doubt, avoided the fake news problem that has plagued other social media services. Of course, maybe this op-ed and Spiegel’s hot take on other social media companies is less about decrying everything that is wrong with social media and more about capturing the news cycle in the run-up to Snapchat’s big redesign.