Facebook is not in a great place right now. Financially, the platform’s doing fine… better than fine. But outside of the dollars and cents, Facebook’s having trouble. What started as a series of measurement miscalculations evolved into the discovery that Facebook served a tool used by foreign entities to influence the voting populace in the most recent Presidential election. Now, the most recent revelation revealed that Cambridge Analytica misused user data in an effort to elect Donald Trump.
Needless to say, it’s been an onslaught of bad news for Facebook, and it already wasn’t doing well. Many of its users don’t like the platform, and it’s not viewed as trustworthy. In fact, trust has been cited as a primary factor for not using the platform. The recent news only justifies that feeling.
Facebook has some serious work to do. Finances haven’t been Facebook’s slow burning problem—a desire for users to be there has. Facebook isn’t fun anymore. While it used to be a place to stay connected with individuals, it’s now known as a a cesspool of political tirades and memes. The recent revelations of how its been used by third parties to manipulate people only hurt the platform further.
Losing Hearts and Minds
The social network is winning the financial war, but it’s lost hearts and minds. It will certainly try to get them back, but until then, it creates an opportunity for someone else.
Snapchat’s always been about lightweight fun between friends. From lenses to ephemerality, Snapchat’s been about being light, friendly and casual. Recently, Snapchat announced it will bring creator made lenses to the platform. This will allow new artists to bring their creativity to Snapchat’s most compelling feature. All of this positions Snapchat as the most fun way to interact with friends online.
Snapchat has the benefit right now of not having baggage, at least not to the degree of Facebook. It’s kept fun at the center of everything it does, and in the current climate, a little fun seems to be a worthwhile proposition to many.
Facebook’s struggles could be Snapchat’s gain… as long as it doesn’t mess things up. It’s recent redesign has sparked backlash among users, but that’s a storm many platforms have weathered and prospered on the other side of.
What may hold them back will be growing pains that come from scale. Its filters recently let through an offensive ad featuring Rhianna and Chris Brown. It was tasteless, and there really isn’t an excuse for that being shown to users. That is the kind of thing Snapchat needs to avoid as it embraces more programmatic ad buying on its platform.
Snapchat has the opportunity to be a social escape for users. Facebook’s having some serious issues, and every day appears to provide a new story for its PR team to tackle. Twitter is very news-centric, and Instagram is owned by Facebook, although, it doesn’t bring all the baggage of Facebook with it. Snapchat is an outlier, and if it plays its cards right, it could be a welcome break for new users coming in from Facebook.