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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 in San Francisco. Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Despite Snap's well-known rivalry with Facebook, CEO Evan Spiegel did not give a resounding "yes" when asked on Friday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference if breaking up Facebook would benefit society.

"I think the thing that everyone’s concerned about is that they’ve seen that competition has been what’s motivated Facebook to make changes over time. Those have really motivated Facebook to dramatically change their product offering in order to compete."
— Evan Spiegel

The big picture: "The concern is around anti-competitive practices," such as Facebook-owned Instagram suppressing links to Snapchat accounts, he said. As for an anti-trust investigation, "These investigations last 7 to 10 years... and basically nothing happens," said Spiegel, though he added he's not a regulator.

Spiegel also tried to distance his company's app from Chinese video app TikTok, whose popularity has recently exploded, by describing it as "premium user generated content" — created by users, but with more polished editing.

  • Meanwhile, Snapchat is focused on users creating and sharing content with their friends, which is why consumers find it compelling, he said. On the other hand, Snapchat has invested in high-quality content like shows from publishers.
  • "I think at a high level, we don't need to compete [in the middle] to be successful," Spiegel said, adding it is something the company would consider in the future.

Addressing his recent "don't go public" advice to companies: "I think the process of going public is actually an incredibly important process for a business," Spiegel said.

"[But]it can be challenging to grow a business with capital that is not very expensive and transition to a public market that has a very different set of metrics, frankly."

  • He later clarified to the interviewer, Josh Constine of TechCrunch, that he "was trying to make a joke” when he told entrepreneurs not to go public.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.