Nov 29, 2017

Snapchat emphasizes human content moderation in app redesign

Views of Snap's redesign. Images via Snap

Snapchat is redesigning its app to separate media and social communications, making it easier to use and understand. CEO Evan Spiegel wrote an opinion piece for Axios Wednesday morning, saying that the separation takes "an important step forward towards strengthening our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media."

Why it matters: Snapchat's last earnings showed slowed percentage of user growth for the fourth consecutive quarter. The company hopes a redesign will attract new users and engage current ones that may feel less inspired to post on Facebook and Instagram — rival platforms that rely on content recommendations from friends instead of algorithms and human curation tailored to individuals.

  • The redesign will begin to roll out to a small percentage of users later this week and will be available to all users on iOS and and Android globally in coming weeks. According to a Snap spokesperson, the entire redesign was done in-house.
  • The major design changes are centered around the separation of a "Discover" page on the right — which displays vetted publisher stories, stories from around the world, or stories from influencers or people you chose to follow that you don't know personally — and a "Friends" page on the left that features updates from your close friends and family. At the center is the "Send-to" homepage, or a navigation that starts with using its camera.
  • Newer features, like Maps and Bitmojis, will be more easily accessible within more places on the app.
  • Business and advertising products and operations will remain the same for the most part.

Snapchat will use algorithmic content recommendations, like Netflix, to help users discover new content, instead of relying on friends or large networks to elevate it to users through engagement (likes, comments, etc.) The content that users chose to follow will sit on top of the algorithmically-recommended content (curated stories, publisher stories and influencer stories/snaps).

  • You can expect dozens of signals to affect the recommendations to your Friends and Discover pages, most of which will be based on content or people you've already engaged with, according to a Snap spokesperson. Separating the signals by page means that the experience will be much more customizable.
  • Users will also now have a tool to easily hide anything they see in Discover that they don't like, which will help inform the tailored content.

Human curation and moderation of content is something the company is emphasizing heavily with this redesign. Unlike Facebook, which told Axios earlier this year that it's a technology company that doesn't hire journalists to moderate content, Snapchat says it will have a team of content programmers coming from editorial backgrounds to ensure "that each user sees a diverse mix of content formats, and be able to promote interesting or editorially important content to users."

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World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health