Marketing 3 min read

How a Simple Snapchat Login has Replaced Frontline Reporters

Alesia Kan |

Alesia Kan |

Anybody can now deliver live coverage of tragic events and unfortunate disasters thanks to the power of social media technologies like Snapchat.

In the past, when a newsworthy event or tragedy happened, we would usually wait for conventional news outlets to set up, prepare a script, and deliver news from these happenings.

Back then, when people did take photos and videos of these newsworthy events, they would usually send them to the same news outlets to include in their broadcast.

This has changed with the introduction of live video and other reporting features in social media apps like Snapchat.

These days, people who were formerly just the audience are transitioning to frontline reporters without years of experience let alone a degree in journalism.

Democratization of Wartime Photography and Frontline Reporting

Live coverage isn’t just for those with a press pass anymore.

It’s for anyone who is nearby and has a smartphone. As a result, more people than ever take part in newsgathering and distribution by sharing their personal, inside view of events as they unfold.

Over the past few months, we’ve had several disasters and tragic events. From devastating hurricanes (we went through Harvey) that cost billions of dollars in damages to the Las Vegas shooting that resulted in the loss of 59 lives and another 489 non-fatal injuries, the world has endured it all.

Through these painful happenings, people shared with the world their eye-witness account through videos.

Snapchat made it possible to find these unfiltered accounts with Snap Maps Stories.

Snap Maps provide unfiltered coverage of events and catastrophesClick To Tweet

Snap Maps is one of Snap’s latest features.

Launched a few months ago, Snap Maps allow you find out what your friends are doing at locations where they post snaps from. You can also see snaps submitted to stories from all over the world with Snap Maps.

The real-time nature of Snap Maps has made it a useful tool in reporting breaking news. During notable events, different users submit multiple snaps from the location of the happening to Snap Stories. Snap then uses machine learning and manual curation to select the snaps that are interesting, safe, and fun to be displayed as coverage for the event on Snap Maps.

That’s pretty keen, too, as the un-curated side of social media content has been under scrutiny lately. Just look at our coverage of the EU Commission’s directives to social media companies here.

A real-life example of Snap coverage was the Las Vegas Shooting and Mexico City’s most recent earthquake.

What is the Negative Side of This?

One would think misinformation experts and fake news specialists (now there is fake video and audio) also have front row access to spread false information but the nature of Snap Maps makes it less likely a tool to spread fake news, unlike Facebook and Twitter.

For now, it’s best to stay vigilant and aware of any negative implications of Snap’s progress.

Did you report or watch any of the recent major breaking news events on Snapchat? What was the experience like? What do you think this means for the future of news reporting?

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