Open Letter to Snapchat
By Chloe Jad
Photo by Sophia Kysela
Before I begin my slew of aggravations against you, I suppose a ‘thank you’ is in order for ushering me into womanhood, standing right by me and documenting those horrific middle school years, and those underwhelming high school ones. As I’m sure my future kids will love to see, I’ll never forget a single selfie taken, a fact I find quite humbling. I adore snooping on my friends’ stories and knowing too much through their private ones. I appreciate the ability to send rant or update videos to my best friends whenever my fingers lack the will to type 800 words. Your “Memories” feature might be the best invention in social media history. You are the perfect archive.
But not much more than that.
Other than my deep-seated opinion of Snapchat as the worst platform for flirting with someone after the tenth grade, I have a much more pressing bone to pick with you. Your “Discover” page, which is full of celebrity stories and trashy news publications, might be one of the greatest crimes against humanity. It terrifies me to think that, for some - especially young users in grade school - this cesspool of gossip is their main source of news.
Not only do the thumbnails perpetrate the sin of “clickbaiting” to the highest degree, they also exercise the gross practice of pasting photographs of celebrities at their worst and using visuals out of context. Inaccurate depictions of events, misleading headlines, and sensationalization of scandal all perpetuate misinformation. However, nothing is worse than the incessant obsession with young female celebrities and influencers and their bodies or romantic lives.
Any day of the week, Millie Bobby Brown and Charli D’Amelio can simply click on Snapchat and see what the media seems to think about their weight loss or gain, sex lives, or alleged drug use, all with the worst photograph of them pulled from the archival dredges of the paparazzi. While seasoned celebrities, such as the Kardashian clan or any Hollywood actor ever, may be used to this sleazy, perverted reporting, it’s a completely different thing to be targeting this abuse at teenage girls and boys. Sexualization of minors thrives on Snapchat.
Every thumbnail is a female face or body painted in a sexual light to encourage pervy clicks. Every headline seems to center around girls’ bodies (showing too much or too little), relationships (breakups, rumors, and scandals), and making sure the most personal, embarrassing slip-up never goes unnoticed. At least they never forget to include that stupid emoji to help us visualize the scathing tone with which the headline wishes to speak.
The entire stories section of Snapchat is a desecration of journalism. Even early 2000s tabloids seem moral in comparison. Other than the occasional movie ranking or pimple popping video - maybe even an outfit review here or there - I genuinely find no redeeming qualities about your selection of “news.”