The head of Snapchats news division has left the company – Business Insider
The person overseeing Snapchat’s news team, Xana O’Neill, has left the company.
O’Neill has been the executive producer for news since August 2017, after serving as a managing editor at ABC News.
Snapchat pushed into news content in 2015 with the launch of its Discover feature. The news division was first run by political correspondent Peter Hamby, who now hosts Snapchat’s daily political show.
The person overseeing Snap’s news content has left the company.
Snap has confirmed to Business Insider that the executive producer of news, Xana O’Neill, is no longer with the company. In that role, O’Neill oversaw Snapchat’s original news shows and its partnerships with news outlets on its Discover platform, multiple current and former employees told Business Insider.
Snap first pushed into hard news in 2015 with the launch of Discover, a feature for users to find curated news and entertainment content. Since then, Discover has expanded to partner with publishers and news outlets to produce shows exclusively on the platform, and Snapchat has developed a team in-house to produce original news shows.
Snap first hired Peter Hamby, a storied political journalist at CNN, to run Snapchat’s news division in 2015. It’s unclear exactly when or why Hamby left that position, but he now hosts “Good Luck America,” Snapchat’s in-house daily show on politics.
Earlier this month, Snapchat announced it would stop promoting Donald Trump’s social media account on Discover after the president made remarks that appeared to threaten shooting protesters. Trump’s account is still public on the platform, but it will no longer be highlighted in the Discover section to those who don’t subscribe or search for it specifically.
“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” a Snap spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement at the time. “Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America.”
Since this much-lauded move, Snap has faced criticism for its treatment of Black staff and content related to people of color. At a recent all-hands meeting, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel was forced to address allegations “shrinking diversity” that were made on Twitter by former employees and earlier reported by Mashable. At an all-hands meeting that following week, employees told Business Insider that Spiegel defended the company’s history of not releasing diversity data on its employees, saying that publishing the report reinforces the idea that minority groups are underrepresented in the tech industry. Snap is one of only a few major tech companies that has not released its diversity numbers.
This past Friday, Snap was forced to apologize for a filter it created to celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. The filter, slammed for its insensitivity, encouraged users to smile to “break” the chains.