Update: See below.
Snapchat‘s latest app update made several changes, the most notable of which was the new Discover function, which helps #brands reach the #teen audience with snippets of disappearing video. But with this update, Snapchat has also ditched the “Best Friends” feature, which showed a user’s three most-snapped friends.
Teens—Snapchat’s target users—have reacted with mixed emotions when it comes to this particular update.
It’s no secret that a big part of Snapchat is the NSFW conversations it facilitates. But beyond the typical sexting that couples are wont to do, snaps’ disappearing nature also makes them ideal for people engaging in a covert relationship. The “Best Friends” feature was the one counterweight to this, as it allowed significant others and friends to see if someone was stepping out—or snapping out—on their bae. For this reason, Discover aside, Snapchat’s latest update is mostly benefiting shady teens.
A 17-year-old teenager from Virginia who requested anonymity told the Daily Dot that “Best Friends” had yet another purpose, one that helped explain teens’ displeasure with the update.
“The top friends feature was used among teens to find out who would be dating soon,” he said. “I know a few guys who were like, ‘Yeah, I had been snapchatting her a lot but I didn’t even beat X in her top friends so I bet she’s more interested in him.’”
“It’s a shame,” our teen source added, “because snapchat top friends was *the* metric used for relationship prospects.”
How will teens find out if they have secret admirers now? The struggle of teen life continues.
Update 6pm, Jan. 27: Teens: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel hears you.