TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook

Executives from TikTok and Snapchat on Tuesday sought to distance themselves from Facebook during their first appearances at a Capitol Hill hearing, as senators pressed them on the impact their platforms have on young users.

Making their case: Snapchat is designed around temporary posts, and unlike Facebook and Twitter, its messages and posts disappear after set times, Snapchat Vice President of Global Public Policy Jennifer Stout emphasized.

Stout used the same argument to defend the app’s filters, including so-called beautification filters that can be used to make users look thinner, add the appearance of makeup, or change their skin.

Stout said filters can “lower the barrier” for conversations between friends to communicate in fun and authentic ways.

TikTok Vice President and Head of Public Policy for the Americas Michael Beckerman stressed that TikTok is a platform for entertainment, and distanced the popular video sharing app by saying it does not use “like” buttons and comments.

Not all are convinced: Senators seemed nonplussed by at least some of those efforts.

“Being different from Facebook is not a defense. That bar is in the gutter. It’s not a defense to say that you are different,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce consumer protection subcommittee.