Shares of Snapchat parent Snap (NYSE:SNAP) got clobbered today, down by 7% as of 2:45 p.m. EST, after celebrity Kylie Jenner tweeted that she doesn't really use the service much anymore. Jenner is one of the most prominent celebrities on Snapchat.
still love you tho snap ... my first love— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
The criticism is just the latest regarding Snapchat's redesigned interface, which has attracted considerable backlash among Snap's user base. The company had 187 million daily active users (DAUs) at the end of the fourth quarter. Early user reviews were overwhelmingly negative, a social media hoax promising to go back to the old interface went viral this month, and a change.org petition asking Snap to roll back the update has garnered over 1.2 million signatures.
CEO Evan Spiegel believes that the criticisms only validate the changes.
Incidentally, Spiegel made those comments at an investing conference, and the exchange included a reference to Kim Kardashian, Jenner's sister. Users previously felt more of a connection to the celebrities that they follow on Snapchat, such as Kardashian, and Spiegel's implication was that Snap doesn't want users to feel like they are personal friends with celebrities. Still, that doesn't change how instrumental celebrities are in driving engagement on Snapchat.
The broader risk is that the user backlash translates into users defecting to rival platforms, most notably Facebook's Instagram. That photo/video sharing service has replicated many of Snapchat's core features and has a more intuitive interface. Instagram Stories has more DAUs than all of Snapchat.
Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of FB. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends FB. The Motley Fool has the following options: short March 2018 $200 calls on FB and long March 2018 $170 puts on FB. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.