Snapchat tests replies for Spotlight, its short video feature for creators

Snapchat is testing a new feature for creators where it will allow replies to its ‘Spotlight videos’. Spotlight is Snap’s answer to TikTok videos and Instagram’s Reels aka the short video format. The company states that is one of the top-requested features from users. Snaps says the feature will help creators on the platform build their community as well.

The new feature will allow audiences to leave a text reply on a creator’s Spotlight video. The reply is moderated first before being sent to the creator. The creator of the Spotlight video will have the power to control which replies can appear publicly for other viewers to see.

Snapchat also insists this is not like the comments feature that one sees on other platforms. The company states that the feature has been “thoughtfully and carefully designed to bring the benefits of community and connection”. It should be noted that the feature for public replies is only rolling out to the Spotlight segment on Snapchat. This feature is not available on friends’ Stories. Snap notes that public replies to private Stories would “fuel toxic and inauthentic behaviours.”

Regarding the content moderation for these public replies, Snap will rely on “machine learning to proactively moderate the text of all Spotlight Replies”. The ML models will search “for harmful text” which is in violation of the company’s “Community Guidelines” before these are sent to a creator for review. But it is not clear how accurate the ML model will be given we have seen companies like Facebookand Instagram relying on such tools for moderation and still fail.

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Snapchat says it will have “protections in place to keep minors safe and confidential in-app reporting available for both the creator of the Spotlight Snap and Snapchatters who views their Spotlight Snaps.” The feature is being opened for testing in New Zealand first and it will expand to more markets over the coming months.



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