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Opinion
Shira Ovide

Snapchat Is Becoming Like the Internet It Disdains

It loses luster, though, as it discards the elements that set it apart.

The perils of nonconformity.

The perils of nonconformity.

Photographer: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

Snapchat has defined itself in opposition to the internet establishment. It didn’t want to be a digital hangout like Facebook that lured the masses to perform for strangers. Snapchat’s advertisements wouldn’t be “creepy” like other internet ads. Web-video programs from partners such as ESPN wouldn’t be the schlock people saw elsewhere. 

Now, though, Snapchat is borrowing liberally from the internet conventions it has scorned. Snapchat is — irony alert — copying Facebook by refashioning its advertising business for companies that want quick payoffs from their ads. It’s tracking people to prove those messages worked. And Snapchat loosened demands for tailor-made video programs, which makes it more like the rest of the web.