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Snapchat Tests New Option Which Enables Users to Opt-Out of Auto-Deleting Messages

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Snapchat has announced a significant new update, at least in terms of its long-held design principles, with a new experiment that will enable Snapchatters to keep their messages in the app beyond the current 24 hour auto-delete threshold.

Snapchat message retention

As you can see in this example, Snapchat’s testing out a new option that would enable users to select “Never delete” in their messaging retention options, which would essentially make it much more like every other messaging app.

Which could also dilute its key point of differentiation, but Snap clearly feels that it needs to take this step.  

As explained by Snap:

We’re constantly listening to and learning from Snapchatters, and thoughtfully innovating based on their needs. In response to feedback from our community, we’re excited to offer a new setting in chat that we hope provides even more flexibility and control over conversations with the people who matter most.”

Users in the experiment, which is now underway in selected markets, will be able to enact this new setting on a conversation-by-conversation basis.

“Participants in the conversation can update the settings at any time, and in-chat notices make sure the latest selections are clear.”

So anyone within a chat can switch this off, ensuring that control remains in the hands of all participants.

Snapchat also notes that conversations in the app will continue to auto-delete by default, with ephemerality remaining a core element of the app’s “design philosophy”. But with more people using Snapchat as their key messaging platform of choice, the option is designed to provide more capacity for those who may want to be able to keep a longer history of their chats.

It’s a significant step for the app, which, as noted, has made its name as the disappearing message platform, and has become a popular tool among younger audiences based on this element. It seems like Snap would be better off retaining that focus, as it hasn’t needed longer message retention thus far, but then again, with more interaction switching to DMs, Snap likely also sees this as an opportunity to expand its value, and usage, among more people.

That could particularly relate to older users, who may be more inclined to keep using Snapchat as they age up if it replicates the same functionality of other messaging apps.

Maybe that’s the focus here, with Snap looking to enhance its appeal with a broader audience to stimulate more growth, and boost its ad potential.

Will message retention help on this front?

Clearly, it’s a much-requested feature, and enabling users to opt out seems like a reasonably safe way to at least experiment with this option.

But will it also make Snap less unique?

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