Snapchat unveiled a new curated short-form video feed on Monday in a bigger challenge for social media rivals like TikTok.
The new format called Spotlight allows Snapchatters to see content from influencers and other members of the network that is popular with young smartphone users.
Spotlight aims to broaden the connections between Snapchat users by allowing anyone to create a video that will be distributed on the platform.
It aims to encourage more users to create short video clips that can be enhanced with filters and augmented reality effects.
“We designed Spotlight to keep our community entertained while living up to Snapchat’s values, making the well-being of our community a top priority,” said a statement from Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. in which the new service was announced.
Spotlight is launched in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France, and later in other markets.
It marks the latest challenge for the hugely successful TikTok, which is under pressure from the Trump administration to ban the app or force its sale to US investors over alleged national security concerns over its Chinese connections.
Others that use similar short videos include Instagram’s Reels from Facebook and startups like Triller.
Snap describes Spotlight as a “new consumption experience” for the social platform with an estimated 249 million active users at the end of September.
The company said the new offering could enable anyone to have their videos watched by millions of users and potentially monetize them. This opens the process of becoming an “influencer” eligible for Snapchat funding of approximately $ 1 million (approximately Rs. 7 crores) per day.
Snap said all videos on Spotlight will be reviewed by human moderators before being shown on the platform, unlike rivals who use automated systems and in many cases respond to inappropriate content or misinformation afterwards.
Another difference is the lack of public comments on Spotlight, eliminating the need to moderate offensive or unwanted content.
Spotlight aims to become a “personalized” feed composed by an algorithm based on users’ viewing habits. a move that follows the lead of TikTok, which has seen blistering growth in recent months.
The launch comes amid increasing competition between social networks and rivals copying Snapchat’s disappearing messages.
Facebook’s main social network is losing ground among a younger audience to rivals like Snapchat and TikTok, even as Facebook-owned Instagram continues to grow in that demographic.
A Piper Jaffay poll of American teens last month showed that Snapchat is their favorite social media platform, and TikTok overtook Instagram for second place.
Despite its popularity, Snap has yet to make a profit about two years after its stock market debut. Snapchat gained notoriety for its disappeared “Stories,” but has added a variety of media content through partnerships.
It lost $ 200 million (approximately Rs. 1,500 crores) in the third quarter, but managed to double its revenues from a year ago thanks to changes that contributed to greater user engagement.
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