Reports that Snapchat announced that it is shutting down by the end of 2017 are false. Rumors that the mobile messaging and media sharing app will be removed from all devices starting next week stemmed from a prank news website.
According to Snopes, the fake claim originated on Channel 45 News, a prank news website that allows users to trick or “troll” their friends by creating hoaxes. The article claimed that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel had announced that the app was being removed from all users’ devices by Nov. 14 due to legal issues with other social media apps. It purported:
The CEO Evan Spiegel of the very popular app Snapchat has released that Snapchat will be removed from all app stores by November 14,2017. According to Fox News Media Evan has decided to make this decision due to copyright and legal issues with Facebook, Instagram, and Musical.ly. By the date November 14,2017 all Snapchat apps with be removed from all devices and all app stores. DISCLAIMER all data and media associated with the app will also be deleted within the app.
The report, however, is entirely fabricated. While the app did experience an hours-long outage and was down for thousands of people worldwide on Monday (causing #SnapchatDown to trend), it is not closing down. Not only does each article feature a “You Got Owned!” meme, Channel 45 News also states in their disclaimer that the stories are not meant to be taken seriously:
We do NOT support FAKE NEWS!!! This is a Prank website that is intended for Fun. Bullying, Violent Threats or posts that Violate Public Order are NOT permitted on this Website.
Hoaxes published on Channel 45 News, and other prank news websites like it, often end up going viral due to their deceptive nature. Pranksters need only create a fake title, write a brief description and upload an eye-catching image to create the fictitious stories. When shared on social media, the stories can look genuine, which can lead to much confusion among users on Facebook and Twitter.
Following the aforementioned #SnapchatDown hashtag, the support page acknowledged on Monday that they were aware that the ephemeral photo and video messaging app was not working. The legitimate issues seemed to have been resolved by Monday evening.
Meanwhile, in response to the viral hoax, Spiegel himself took to Twitter to debunk it, writing, “Nope. Not shutting down” and “Fake news” in response to confused social media users. Snapchat Support also tweeted about the hoax, replying to users to explain that the story was not real. “That rumor is not true,” they told one person. “Happy Snapping ”
— Snapchat Support (@snapchatsupport) November 7, 2017
Here are some examples of people talking about the hoax on social media:
Social Media Shares Fake Story about Snapchat Shutting Down By the End of 2017
— Sergio Eddie (@AlwaysRandom90) November 7, 2017
@Snapchat ARE YOU GUYS SHUTTING DOWN ON NOV 14
— Mr. Homeless (@BascllyH0meless) November 6, 2017
— Lily// (@katnisslily011) November 6, 2017
— Dajuan Will (@willdajuan) November 7, 2017
Just heard @Snapchat is going down, pissed this better be fake.
— FaZe Fan Account (@Colethatsnek) November 7, 2017
Y’all I got so upset when I saw Snapchat was ‘shutting down.’ The relief I just felt realizing it was fake is insane love you @Snapchat
— rach (@omfgfandomss) November 7, 2017
Have you seen the fake story about Snapchat shutting down by the end of 2017 circulating social media? What are your thoughts on prank news websites? Sound off in the comments section below!