Recode‘s annual Code Conference is underway in Rancho Palos Verdes, California this week, and on Tuesday Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel took the stage to discuss the ephemeral app’s controversial update, Facebook’s copying, and the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Specifically, Spiegel is said to have “poured salt on the wound” during his 40-minute interview with Kara Swisher as he called out Facebook and its ongoing struggles with user privacy. Referencing Facebook’s decision to copy Snapchat stories in the Facebook app, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, Spiegel said, “We would really appreciate it if they copied our data protection practices also.”
Snapchat is built around the idea that messages and photos that users send on the platform all disappear after a pre-set amount of time, providing some sense of security within the iOS and Android app. Facebook, on the other hand, is “just a bunch of features” — now including ephemeral stories — placed within an app without an underlying philosophy of user privacy, Spiegel argued.
Spiegel said Facebook — whose name he repeatedly declined to utter — has failed to sufficiently overhaul its user privacy protections after the Cambridge Analytica scandal exploded earlier this spring.
“Fundamentally, I think the changes have to go beyond window dressing to real changes to the ways that these platforms work,” he said.
Spiegel ultimately said that he thinks Snapchat will survive competitors copying the app, because while other platforms are forcing people to “compete with their friends for ‘Likes'”, Snapchat is focused on communicating with close friends. So, while Facebook imitates its features, the CEO remained confident that Snapchat’s “values are hard to copy.”
Snapchat hasn’t been without its own data leak scandals, however, and Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos took to Twitter to point that out. Stamos said that “poor API security” has been a factor that led to mass leaks of compromising user photos. “So no, I don’t think copying Snapchat would be a smart move” for Facebook, he finished.
Many companies have voiced their opinions on the Facebook data scandal, including Apple and CEO Tim Cook, who said he “wouldn’t be in this situation” when asked what he would do if he was Mark Zuckerberg.
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