Snapchat has curated snaps about life in Baghdad to create an Our Story to go live Monday afternoon.
That’s Snapchat-jargon for the mobile storytelling app opening up a geofence around Baghdad and encouraging Snapchat users to submit photos and videos to Snap (with Baghdad geofilters live in the app). Snapchat will later curate and stitch those submissions into one story exclusively available on the app.
The feed should go live on the app at about 3 p.m. ET Monday.
Snapchat does not plan to include much about the violence or anything too politically-related to what’s happening in Baghdad. Rather, the app is looking for snaps that show residents simply living their lives.
The feed won’t just be in English. Snapchat will run an Arabic version in Arabic-speaking countries and will run a version with English subtitles shown in English-speaking countries.
The app might mostly be associated with millennials sending goofy or intimate photos to each other, but Snapchat has championed itself as an original and thoughtful entrant into news coverage as well as storytelling. The app featured life in Mecca back in July 2015 and provided a raw look at the reactions of young Americans to the election.
While these stories spark interest and engagement from users, they don’t come without their controversies. After Snapchat created a Live Story for the Israeli city of , Twitter users asked Snapchat why it showed only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Snapchat, two days later, created a Live Story for West Bank.
Over the last two years, Snapchat has matured its news product. The company hired Peter Hamby back in April 2015 to serve as Snapchat’s first head of news. The former CNN national political reporter now helps lead a team dedicated to creating Our Stories. For example, Snapchat built a story around the Battle of Mosul. Hamby also launched his own political news show on Snapchat called Good Luck America.
This isn’t the first time Snapchat has built an Our Story for multiple languages. An Our Story on the London terror attack was curated in English and French, and they curated a story in English and Arabic for Dubai Fashion Week.
As Facebook continues to mimic Snapchat’s Stories product, with Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Stories and Messenger Day, Snapchat stands uniquely positioned in its dedication in and ability to curate and tell stories.
FWIW, Instagram does have an Explore tab that has curated for live events.