In an interview with Kara Swisher at Code Conference, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel criticized Facebook over its data protection practices and outlined how he believes Snapchat is distinctive from other social networks.
In response to a question about how he reacts when other social networks “borrow” their designs or products, and after declaring he takes it as a compliment, Spiegel stated, “I guess what I’m saying…is that we would really appreciate it if they copied our data protection practices also”.
The full interview is available on YouTube.
The question from Kara Swisher was in relation to Facebook deploying a number of features that had become popular on Snapchat. Two years ago even Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, deployed “Instagram stories”, which from a usability perspective lends heavily from “Snapchat stories”.
However, it was Spiegel’s comment about Facebook’s data protection practices that are likely to make the biggest wave. He’s also not the first prominent CEO to take aim at Facebook data practices in recent months, with Apple CEO Tim Cook stating in April, “We’re not going to traffic in [our customers] personal lives. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.”
Spiegel also discussed the nature of Snapchat’s philosophy and how it diverges from that of “traditional” social networks.
“I think fundamentally it’s important to understand that Snapchat isn’t just a bunch of features, it really has an underlying philosophy that runs contrary to traditional social media…and I think that’s why traditional social media feels threatened,” he said.
“Fundamentally people realise that competing with their friends for likes and attention is kind of unpleasant.”
He also spoke about what he believes the future holds for Facebook and why Snapchat’s business model will prevail.
“[Facebook is] having a really hard time changing its DNA [and its] DNA is all about having people compete with each other online for attention,” he said.
“As times goes on I think it will become more and more clear to people that our values are hard to copy. I think over time, especially given the relationship we’ve built with our community which I feel is very strong, it will be harder to copy the essence of what Snapchat is.”
During the interview, Spiegel also discussed the criticism the social network received over its redesign.
“It’s important to understand the problem we were trying to resolve…at some point because you’ve added [so many] friends, and some of them you don’t know, you feel uncomfortable creating yourself,” he said.
“…that for us was worrisome…so we wanted to find a way to empower people to express themselves, to keep that small group of friends but at the same time expose the whole world of content that’s on Snapchat…
“…in terms of the philosophy I’m excited about the progress we’re making, in terms of the execution we have to continue to evolve and iterate the product…”