2018 isn’t Snapchat’s year. A month after coming under fire for a domestic-violence meme featuring Chris Brown and Rihanna, the mobile app is facing backlash again for prioritizing Kim Kardashian‘s Snapchat story over breaking news from Tuesday’s mass shooting at YouTube headquarters.
Snapchat users weren’t happy when they opened their apps to see the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star’s story placed higher than this week’s shooting, which left four people injured after a shooter opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California, Mashable writer, Kerry Flynn, first reported. Screenshots of Snapchat’s mistake show stories from influencers like Kardashian and Cosmopolitan magazine at the top of the app’s Discover page, while news about the YouTube shooting is buried at the bottom.
@Snapchat would put breaking news at the top of the Discover feed instead of Cosmopolitan (ok, yeah I subscribe) and Kim Kardashian,” Flynn tweeted.
According to an interview between a Snapchat representative and Mashable, the app has an algorithm that decides what stories rank higher for certain users on the Discover page. However, in the case of huge news events, the app also has a programming team that manually places more “editorially important” stories at the top of the Discover page. Though Snapchat claimed that it did that once news of the YouTube shooting broke, many users still saw the news story at the bottom of their Discover page.
This isn’t the only time Snapchat has been called out for its insensitivity during a mass shooting. In February, when news broke of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Snapchat was slammed for putting details about the event—which it titled “High School Shooting”—next to stories about Kardashian’s 24-inch waist and diet. The same issue occurred when Snapchat ranked Kardashian’s story higher than a shooting in Kentucky in January.
Several users are blaming Snapchat’s updated Discovery page, which features stories in a vertical format that often insensitively places serious news next to entertainment content. This isn’t the first time that Snapchat has been slammed this year either. In March, the app was called out by Rihanna for including her in a domestic-violence meme with her abusive ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown. Weeks earlier, Kylie Jenner criticized Snapchat’s updates, causing the app to plummet more than a billion dollars in stocks.
Many on the internet are predicting Snapchat’s end, which isn’t too hard to see considering its recent history. If the app wants to improve, we suggest doing a serious overhaul on the Discoery page and taking a lesson on sensitivity.