Snapchat is doing what others once thought it would never do-make private posts last longer on its app. To be sure this would be a radical departure for a company which prides itself on privacy. Currently the posts you share are visible only to a select group of friends. Posts shared on My Story are public but disappear after a period of 30 days, but now they may last up to 90 days or longer. The company is also considering revealing identities of those users who make public posts. Such drastic changes have serious potential of backfiring. These are the very features that made snap such a hit with millennial’s.
But a series of serious missteps along with months of bad headlines have left investors jittery. Snap is looking for new ways to generate revenueto calm investors and improve its long term prospects. It is said to be carefully mulling the privacy, technical and legal ramifications of such actions especially in light of rival Facebooks scandals revolving around users data. Snap’s shares have closed sixty percent lower from its initial public offering(IPO) in March 2017.
To be sure Snap wouldn’t be the first company to veer in this direction, twitter which sold access to public posts and tweets reported a hefty 108 million dollars in revenue from its data licensing business. It sells access to more than 500 million tweets daily to everyone from new organizations to analytic firms and even financial institutions who use trends to assist them in daily trades. There is a lucrative market for such information. Snap would also have a significant leg up on its rivals Facebook and Instagram as their content is mostly text based versus snaps video leaning content. Media houses are likely to pay a pretty penny to get their hands on such content but do not do so as it disappears after a while and is also anonymous which makes ascertaining their credibility all the more difficult. Maybe such a radical departure from its traditional practices is just what snap needs to get out of its slump.