Snapchat

Snap Inc is considering changes to its Snapchat app, known for disappearing photos and videos, that could make users’ public posts longer lasting or even permanent, sources said.

The company is also weighing an option to reveal the identities of Snapchat users who make public posts, a person familiar with Snap’s plans said. Together the changes would mark a big step in Snap’s effort to lure and keep users by making public content more available outside Snapchat. They could also create a new revenue source for money-losing Snap, which has seen its user base shrink and executives flee the company.

But such changes to Snapchat, which launched in 2011 and became an instant hit among teenagers and millennials, could trigger backlash from users who cherish their privacy, especially as rival Facebook has been plagued by scandals over how it handles user data.

Snap is carefully weighing the privacy, technical and legal considerations of revealing user identities on public posts, said the person familiar with Snap’s plans. Only Snapchat photo and video content shared publicly by users would be affected and users have the option of deleting those stories, said the person.

Snap has already extended the shelf life of public stories, but making them last even longer or revealing more about the users who create them would be a further departure from Snapchat’s hallmark features.

The changes would come in response to feedback from Snap’s four partnerships with news discovery platforms that help media companies spot, analyse and republish public breaking news content on Snapchat, sources said. Reuters is a customer of SAM Desk and NewsWhip, two of the news discovery platforms.

Snap announced the partnerships last year and will sign four more deals in the near future, said the person familiar with Snap’s plans. Initially, public stories would disappear after 30 days but now remain viewable for 90 days, according to Snap’s support website.