After Instagram, now Snapchat has re-introduced animated GIF files on its platform. On Tuesday, Snapchat’s parent company Snap confirmed to The Verge that Giphy stickers would be back since it has upgraded its moderation.
Back in March, both Snapchat and Instagram decided to pull down Giphy stickers after users fumed over the racist GIF as an option to add to their images. “As soon as we were made aware, we removed the GIF and have disabled Giphy until we can be sure that this won’t happen again . . . while we wait for Giphy’s team to take a look at it,” a Snapchat spokesperson said then.
When the same GIF was spotted on Instagram, it was pretty much confirmed that Giphy was at fault. At the time, Instagram said that such content has no place on their platform, and that the ties have been severed for now in order to investigate the issue. Instagram reinstated Giphy last week.
The racist GIF appeared when the users searched for “crime” on the Giphy database. The animation showed a white announcer rejoicing the death of people of color while using a racial slur. As the issue broke loose, Giphy apologized for the mistake adding that they have scanned their database several times to identify any other problematic GIF’s. The company also announced protective measures to prevent any racist GIF appearing in the library in the future.
Although Giphy builds its database from user-uploaded GIFs, users are not allowed to post, “abusive, obscene, offensive, or vulgar” content, as per Giphy’s terms of service. In a statement to The Verge, the company said that the racist GIF was available only because of a bug in their content moderation filters.
Separately, for the first three-quarters of 2017, stagnant user base and revenue growth alarmed the stakeholders. The fourth-quarter, however, came as a much-needed breather. Now, eMarketer expects ad revenue for the company to grow 81.7%, to $1 billion for the first time. The increase in revenue would help the company grab 1% share of the US digital ad spending, an increase from 0.6% last year.
Last week, Snap laid off around hundred employees, majorly from advertising and sales. “Over the past two years our company has grown a tremendous amount. Late last year we asked senior leaders across Snap to look closely at their teams to ensure they had the right resources and organizations to support their missions,” Chief Strategy Officer, Imran Khan, said announcing the layoffs.
These layoffs marked the second round in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the company said it had laid off “just over 120 engineers.” Also, there were smaller rounds of layoffs in the recruiting, marketing and content division sections earlier this year, notes CNBC.
Meanwhile, Snapchat has added another new feature. The social platform recently added a new group video chat feature allowing up to 16 users to chat with each other via its app. The new video chat feature comes with support for filters along with an option for the users to join with audio-only feed or respond with text chat messages to everyone.
Other than live chat, Snapchat is also offering mentions for Stories. With this, users can tag each other similar to what Twitter offers with the @symbol. Tagged users would get the notification when they are mentioned in the Story, and any user viewing the story can use the tagged usernames to follow that user.
Snapchat has embarked on these features to make the platform more engaging for a longer duration. Through Mentions, the social platform is focusing on boosting the interaction between the users, something that is essential for growth. The platform is continuously adding features to combat intense competition in the social networking arena.
According to the research firm eMarketer, Instagram’s user base in the US would grow 13% this year, while for Snapchat it would be 9%. The need of the hour for Snap is to create more innovative products to get more users and up the engagement level. However, recent layoffs do not suggest that everything is floating smoothly in the organization.
Also, as per a survey by Digiday, 42% of the respondents believe that Snapchat is the most difficult platform for digital advertisement. Thus, laying off at such a stage is concerning when the organization depends heavily on advertising revenues.
On Tuesday, Snap shares closed down 2.63% at $14.08. Year to date, the stock is down almost 4%.