Tag Archives: Snapchat

SnapChat will Remove the “Speed Filter”



SnapChat is eliminating the “speed filter” that allowed users to capture how fast they are moving and share it with friends, NPR reported.

According to NPR, Snap “has defended the feature in the face of warnings from safety advocates who’ve argued that it encourages reckless driving. The company has also faced lawsuits from the families of those who have been injured or killed in car crashes where drivers were moving at excessive speeds, allegedly to score bragging rights on the app.”

NPR provided some examples of reckless driving while using the speed filter:

A 2015 collision involving the speed filter left a driver in Georgia with permanent brain damage. That same year, the feature was tied to the death of three young women in a Philadelphia car accident. In 2016, five people in Florida died in a high-speed collision that reportedly involved the speed filter. In 2017, three young men in Wisconsin clocked a speed of 123 miles per hour on the feature before they crashed into a tree and died.

A spokeswoman from Snap confirmed to NPR that the speed filter would soon be gone. She said the feature is “barely used by Snapchatters, and in light of that, we are removing it altogether”.

BuzzFeed News reported that Snap has added a “don’t snap and drive” warning while the feature was in use. It also limited the top driving speed that can be shared to 35 mph.

It will take time for the speed filter to be entirely removed from Snap, so the warning and speed limitation are good ways to deter people from using it for reckless driving. Snap is still going to have to face existing lawsuits about the feature.


Snapchat Introduces Spotlight



Snapchat has introduced Spotlight. It enables Snapchat users to create short videos that include music – much like TikTok does. Right now, Snapchat is holding a contest where people can submit their best video Snaps and potentially earn money.

Submit your best video Snaps to Spotlight for the opportunity to earn a share of more than $1 million that we’re distributing to creators every day! Or, lean back, watch, and pick your favorites!

Snapchat recommends that those who want the opportunity to earn money follow Spotlight’s content guidelines. Requirements include that your video must be vertical and with sound. You can only post your own content for the video, but may use music from Snapchat’s licensed library. You must be at least 16 years old to enter.

Spotlight is currently available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and France. Snapchat says more countries are “coming soon”.

To me, it appears that Spotlight is Snapchat’s way of competing with TikTok for the attention of younger users. Those who already use TikTok could be enticed to give Snapchat’s Spotlight a try, in the hopes of winning some money for their efforts.

Now is a good time for this contest, as many young people are stuck at home due to remote learning and lockdown efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. It could encourage students to have some fun and to express themselves creatively.

According to TechCrunch, Snaps in Spotlight won’t disappear from being surfaced in the feed unless a creator chooses to delete them. In other words, the Snaps that are entered into the Spotlight contest could be viewed by users that are new to the creator. It might help new creators build an audience, which would not only benefit the creator, but also Snapchat itself.


Snapchat will Stop Promoting Trump’s Account in Discover



Snapchat posted a long post titled: “We Stand Together”. It is well worth reading. It discusses racial inequality in the United States, why change hasn’t happened, and more. The part of the post that appears to be getting the most attention is the portion that mentions Snapchat’s decision to no longer promote President Trump’s account in its Discover tab.

…As for Snapchat, we simply cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform. Our Discover content platform is a curated platform, where we decide what we promote. We have spoken time and again about working hard to make a positive impact, and we will walk the talk with the content we promote on Snapchat. We may continue to allow divisive people to maintain an account on Snapchat, as long as the content that is published on Snapchat is consistent with our community guidelines, but we will not promote that account or content in any way…

The Verge received a statement from Snapchat that said: “We are not currently promoting the president’s content in Snapchat’s Discover platform. We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them a platform on Discover. Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America.”

To be clear, Snapchat has not taken President Trump’s account down. Snapchat users can still view the content on that account if they choose to do so. The only difference is that Trump’s content on Snapchat will no longer appear in the Discover tab.

The Guardian reported that Snapchat’s decision regarding Trump’s Snapchat account “will likely increase pressure on the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has come under intense criticism from civil rights leaders and Facebook employees over his decision to allow Trump’s threat that “when the looting starts the shooting starts” remain on the platform.”

Personally, I’m very confused about why the President of the United States, who is frequently on television, and written about in a wide variety of news outlets around the world, feels that he needs to be the focus of every social media platform as well. Neither Twitter nor Snapchat have removed his accounts. They simply are requiring him to adhere to the rules of their platforms.


Put Your Face in a Video with Snapchat Cameo



Snapchat is slowly rolling out a new feature called Snapchat Cameo. It goes further than the Lenses that people can use on a selfie to make themselves look like an animal or to wear a flower crown. Cameo lets people put their selfie into a video that they can share with others.

TechCrunch reported that Snapchat Cameo is currently being tested by Snapchat users in France. Snap confirmed to TechCrunch that Cameo exists, and that they are currently testing it in limited availability in some international markets. It appears that Snap will make its global debut “soon”.

According to TechCrunch, a Snapchat users starts by selecting a vaguely male or female body shape. There is no androgynous option. The user can then select from a bunch of short, looping, videos from the ones Snapchat chose. The user adds their selfie to Cameo. TechCrunch wrote: Snapchat will then stretch and move your selfie to create different facial reactions that Cameo can apply to actors’ heads in the videos.

To me, it sounds like an amusing little feature that could be used to share an emotion that a person is feeling (or to make a friend laugh). Cameo can be personalized more than a Bitmoji or a GIF can.

On the other hand, it also feels a bit creepy. While I don’t think of Cameo as a deepfake, it kind of makes me uncomfortable because it alters reality in a way that might not be immediately recognizable to some. I also have concerns that because Cameo appears to be cute and fun, it could desensitize people to the dangers of malicious deepfakes.


The New York Times Launches on Snapchat Discover



The New York Times announced that it will launch on the Snapchat Discover platform. The New York Times will create a daily Edition for Snapchatters in the U.S., Canada, and Australia based on its popular Morning Briefing, which is designed to help readers prepare for their day, and will be published Monday through Friday.

Discover is the section of the Snapchat app where Snapchat users can find content from media companies, curated and designed specifically for the platform. Over 150 million Snapchatters use the app every day. According to Nielsen data, on any given day, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18-34 year olds in the U.S. In comparison, an average individual U.S. TV network only reaches 6 percent of the same democraphic.

The partnership with Snap will allow the Times to put together a team of top visual storytelling experts to produce a distinctive edition of the morning briefing for the Snapchat community. The Time’s team, as with all Discover publishers, will have editorial independence over the Editions is produces for Snapchat.