Spotify Launches Endless Artist Radio

Spotify is making a few changes to its Premium product. And they’re probably a little overdue, to be honest. As good as Spotify is, it’s facing increased competition from Apple Music and others, so the company really needs to start innovating to retain users. Spotify Launches New Premium Features In a post on For the Record, Spotify the changes it’s making to Premium. Spotify Premium subscribers can now enjoy a more streamlined experience designed to help them navigate, try Personalized Search, and make use of Endless Artist Radio. The headline feature is Endless Artist Radio. This feature, as the name…

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Spotify is making a few changes to its Premium product. And they’re probably a little overdue, to be honest. As good as Spotify is, it’s facing increased competition from Apple Music and others, so the company really needs to start innovating to retain users.

Spotify Launches New Premium Features

In a post on For the Record, Spotify the changes it’s making to Premium. Spotify Premium subscribers can now enjoy a more streamlined experience designed to help them navigate, try Personalized Search, and make use of Endless Artist Radio.

The headline feature is Endless Artist Radio. This feature, as the name suggests, offers an endless playlist based on an individual artist or song. These are designed with your own music tastes in mind. And you can even download them to play offline later.

The second new feature is Personalized Search. Spotify has redesigned the Search page so that it now offers a lot more than a simple search function. There are artists, albums, podcasts, and listeners’ preferred genres allowing them to dive right in.

Spotify has also streamlined navigation, cutting the number of tabs down from five to three. Browse and Radio are gone, with Browse folded into Search, and Radio now merely an option after you have searched for an artist. Which all makes perfect sense.

The Start of the Music Streaming Wars

These updates have started rolling out to Spotify Premium subscribers on Android and iOS from today. We’re sure Apple and Google will counter these features with their own updates soon, but that just means streaming music is going to keep on getting better.

If you’re a fan of Spotify, check out our unofficial guide to Spotify. Or if you already know it all, why not peruse the best Spotify playlists for the summer. And once you have found your favorite, discover the easiest ways to share Spotify playlists.

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Twitter Now Shows You When Tweets Break the Rules

Twitter has something of a reputation as a haven for trolls. The social media platform has also been heavily criticized over the years for the way it deals with these trolls, and other people who harass and hate on individuals. But things are improving. Since the start of 2017, Twitter has made a concerted effort to deal with these issues. Through policy updates, rule changes, and stricter enforcement, the company has tried to build a safer Twitter. And it’s now tackling the problems surrounding reported tweets. Twitter Shames the Rulebreakers As explained on the Twitter Blog, Twitter is changing the…

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Twitter has something of a reputation as a haven for trolls. The social media platform has also been heavily criticized over the years for the way it deals with these trolls, and other people who harass and hate on individuals. But things are improving.

Since the start of 2017, Twitter has made a concerted effort to deal with these issues. Through policy updates, rule changes, and stricter enforcement, the company has tried to build a safer Twitter. And it’s now tackling the problems surrounding reported tweets.

Twitter Shames the Rulebreakers

As explained on the Twitter Blog, Twitter is changing the way it deals with reported tweets. First, reported tweets will be flagged as such, offering more transparency. Secondly, the people who report the tweets will no longer see them by default.

From now on, when a reported tweet is removed for breaking the rules, it will be replaced by a notice stating, “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.” There will be a link to the Twitter Rules, so there’s no excuse not to read them.

Even before a tweet is removed because Twitter has decided it breaks the rules, the person who reported it will no longer see it. Instead, they’ll see the notice, “You reported this tweet.” They can then click “View” if they want to see it again for any reason.

The first notice will be displayed for 14 days, and act as a punishment in its own right. Twitter obviously hopes people will be shamed into stopping behaving badly. These changes will be rolling out to both Twitter.com and the Twitter app in the coming weeks.

Twitter Trolls Take Notice

In hindsight these changes seem rather obvious. Making it clear a tweet has been deleted for breaking the Twitter Rules is a no-brainer. And hiding reported tweets from view by default seems like pure common sense. Let’s just hope the trolls take notice.

None of these changes is likely to salvage Twitter’s tarnished reputation. Because, unfortunately, most people find Twitter confusing. Thankfully, however, we’re here to help you learn how to use Twitter like a pro. So why not give it a go?

Image Credit: Gigi Ibrahim/Flickr

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Google Maps Now Shows EV Charging Points

Google Maps is adding information about EV (electric vehicle) charging stations around the world. Drivers of electric cars and trucks will now be able to search for the nearest compatible charging stations right from within Google Maps. With the number of electric vehicles on the road increasing, demand for charging stations is also on the increase. So it makes sense for Google to add this information to Maps. After all, running out of charge is the nightmare scenario for EV owners. Google Maps Helps Drivers Electric vehicle owners who find themselves running low on power can now turn to Google…

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Google Maps is adding information about EV (electric vehicle) charging stations around the world. Drivers of electric cars and trucks will now be able to search for the nearest compatible charging stations right from within Google Maps.

With the number of electric vehicles on the road increasing, demand for charging stations is also on the increase. So it makes sense for Google to add this information to Maps. After all, running out of charge is the nightmare scenario for EV owners.

Google Maps Helps Drivers

Electric vehicle owners who find themselves running low on power can now turn to Google Maps for help. Google Maps has shown some EV charging stations for years now, but the feature is being beefed up to include additional charging networks and information.

According the The Keyword, all you need to do is search for keywords like “EV charging” or “EV charging stations”. The nearest supported stations will then be displayed, along with information about the location, the type of ports, the charging speeds, and more.

Businesses that have charging stations on their property will now feature a link containing this information. And drivers will be able to add to the information on offer by way of ratings, reviews, photos, and questions (and answers).

The only important information that appears to be missing is whether any individual ports are unoccupied. Which means you could head for a charging station only to find it full to capacity. However, adding such realtime information could be a challenge.

Google Maps Starts Charging

Google Maps currently supports Tesla and Chargepoint globally, as well as SemaConnect, EVgo, and Blink in the U.S., Chargemaster and Pod Point in the U.K., and Chargefox in Australia and New Zealand. The feature is available for Google Maps on Android and iOS.

Google has been adding a load of new features to Maps recently. For starters, Google Maps is now wheelchair-friendly. And Google Maps can help you find a parking space too. Still, there are some Google Maps alternatives for people who like getting lost.

Image Credit: Prayitno/Flickr

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Amazon Unveils the All-New Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon has unveiled the all-new Kindle Paperwhite. This updated version of what we have previously rated as the best value Kindle money can buy, is better than its predecessor in every way. In a nutshell, it’s lighter, brighter, thinner, and more waterproof. It should be noted that the all-new Kindle Paperwhite isn’t the first Kindle to be waterproof. The all-new Kindle Oasis beat the Paperwhite to it. However, the Oasis is double the price of the Paperwhite, so the latter is a bargain by comparison. The All-New Kindle Paperwhite Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite has a refreshed design, with a flush-front…

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Amazon has unveiled the all-new Kindle Paperwhite. This updated version of what we have previously rated as the best value Kindle money can buy, is better than its predecessor in every way. In a nutshell, it’s lighter, brighter, thinner, and more waterproof.

It should be noted that the all-new Kindle Paperwhite isn’t the first Kindle to be waterproof. The all-new Kindle Oasis beat the Paperwhite to it. However, the Oasis is double the price of the Paperwhite, so the latter is a bargain by comparison.

The All-New Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite has a refreshed design, with a flush-front six-inch, high resolution 300ppi screen and a back designed to be easier to grip. It’s just 8.18mm thick and weighs 182g, making it thinner and lighter than the previous model.

The all-new Kindle Paperwhite is IPX8 rated, which means it can withstand being immersed in up to two meters of water for up to 60 minutes. And, as an added bonus, for a limited time, Amazon is throwing in six months of Kindle Unlimited for free.

Kevin Keith, Vice President of Amazon Devices, said, “Customers love the Kindle Paperwhite, and we’re excited to bring premium features—like a thinner and lighter flush-front design, additional storage, waterproofing, and Audible—to our most popular Kindle.”

The all-new Kindle Paperwhite is available to pre-order in the United States right now. The 8GB model, priced at $129.99, is set to start shipping on November 7. The 32GB model, priced at $159.99 (or $249.99 with free 3G) will follow in the coming months.

Better Value Than the Kindle Oasis

This new Paperwhite is clearly better than its predecessor in every conceivable way. And it’s only $10 more expensive. Sure, the Oasis is the best Kindle money can buy, but it has a price tag to match. Whereas the Paperwhite is within budget for most people.

If you do decide to buy the all-new Kindle Paperwhite we have a couple of articles you may be interested in reading. We’ll help you set up and use your Kindle Paperwhite, and then give you Kindle-inspired gift ideas to add to your Amazon wishlist.

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Why Does My Xbox One Turn On by Itself?

Are you seeing your Xbox One turn on randomly? This issue can have several different causes. While it’s often hard to diagnose exactly what’s wrong, we have several elements you should check to pin down why your Xbox One randomly turns on. Try each one of them in turn and you should be able to stop it from happening. Why Does My Xbox One Turn On by Itself? Check the following settings and elements if your Xbox One turns on by itself: Wipe down the front of your console near the Xbox logo power toggle. Since the Xbox One doesn’t…

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Are you seeing your Xbox One turn on randomly? This issue can have several different causes. While it’s often hard to diagnose exactly what’s wrong, we have several elements you should check to pin down why your Xbox One randomly turns on.

Try each one of them in turn and you should be able to stop it from happening.

Why Does My Xbox One Turn On by Itself?

Check the following settings and elements if your Xbox One turns on by itself:

  • Wipe down the front of your console near the Xbox logo power toggle.
    • Since the Xbox One doesn’t have a physical power button, its capacitive button triggers when touched. A bit of grime, your pet’s tail, or even a static discharge can turn the system on inadvertently.
  • If you have a Kinect, saying Hey Cortana, Xbox on or Xbox on will turn on your system with voice commands. It’s finicky, so you can turn your system on by accident with a similar phrase.
    • You can disable this by visiting Settings > Power & startup > Power mode & startup and disabling Wake up Xbox by saying “Hey Cortana, Xbox on.”
  • Some have reported that disabling automatic updates can fix this issue. Head to Settings > System > Updates and uncheck Keep my console up to date. You can uncheck Keep my games & apps up to date as well if you like.
  • Pressing the Xbox button on a controller will turn the system on. Thus, your Xbox controller could be faulty.
    • Try removing the batteries from your controller and see if your Xbox One keeps turning on by itself to test this.
  • Disable the Instant-on mode, which lets your Xbox start up faster from a sleep-like state. To do so, visit Settings > Power & startup > Power mode & startup and select Power mode.
    • Switch this from Instant-on to Energy-saving, which fully shuts down the console each time. You must press the Xbox button on a controller or the system to start it.
  • With some televisions sets, turning on your TV may also turn on your Xbox.
  • Try plugging your Xbox into another outlet, or directly into the wall if you have it plugged into a power strip.
  • Fully power off your Xbox by holding the Xbox power button on the front of the system for about 10 seconds. Then unplug the Xbox’s power supply for a short time before connecting it again and turning it back on.
  • Make sure you’ve applied all Xbox One system updates, as they can resolve problems.

Your Xbox One Is Probably Not Haunted

The chances are that one of these is causing your Xbox One to turn on by itself. You can at least rest assured that it’s not haunted. Probably. If you still have the same issue after trying all of these fixes, you should contact Xbox Support.

Check out our article looking at more useful Xbox One settings for additional tweaks you can make.

Image Credit: Marco Verch/Wikimedia Commons

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How to Protect Your PS4 From This Messaging Bug

There’s a malicious message doing the rounds that, when opened on a PlayStation 4, can cause your console to crash. Thankfully, there’s a way of deleting the message without accessing it on your PS4, and a way of preventing it being sent to you in the first place. There have been various examples of this over the years. In 2016, there was a video capable of crashing iPhones. And unusual characters in messages aren’t a new phenomenon. However, this malicious messaging bug is the first to hit games consoles. The PlayStation 4 Malicious Messaging Bug The message, as first reported…

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There’s a malicious message doing the rounds that, when opened on a PlayStation 4, can cause your console to crash. Thankfully, there’s a way of deleting the message without accessing it on your PS4, and a way of preventing it being sent to you in the first place.

There have been various examples of this over the years. In 2016, there was a video capable of crashing iPhones. And unusual characters in messages aren’t a new phenomenon. However, this malicious messaging bug is the first to hit games consoles.

The PlayStation 4 Malicious Messaging Bug

The message, as first reported on Reddit, looks innocuous enough. However, opening it on your PlayStation 4 will cause your console to slow down to a crawl and eventually crash. A factory reset is then required to get it back up and running.

Thankfully, this only works if you open the message on your PS4. If you access the message on Sony’s website or the PlayStation Messages app on Android or iOS, you can delete it without any trouble. That is if you’re not using your PS4 at the time.

How to Protect Your PS4 Against Malicious Messages

The best way to avoid being hit with this message is to take preventative measures. Which is as simple as limiting who can message you on PSN. Here’s what to do on your PlayStation 4:

  • Open Settings
  • Click Account Management
  • Click Privacy Settings
  • Enter Your Password
  • Open Personal Info | Messaging
  • Set Messages to “Friends” or “No One”

If you choose Friends then only people you’re friends with on PSN will be able to message you. If you select No One then absolutely nobody will be able to message you, ensuring your safety.

Sony Is Reportedly Working on a Permanent Fix

Sony is reported to be working on a fix, which will likely involve the company releasing a firmware update to patch the problem. Thankfully, now that you’re aware of the situation you should be able to fix the problem yourself, albeit temporarily.

While you’re fiddling with your PlayStation these are the PS4 privacy settings you should change for peace of mind. And if the worst case scenario plays out and you’re forced to buy a new PS4 here is how to transfer data from your old PS4 to a new PS4.

Image Credit: Niklas Hellerstedt/Flickr

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Apple Music Adds Song Lyrics From Genius

Apple Music users will now be able to sing along to their favorite songs even if they forget the words. This is thanks to Apple teaming up with Genius—the music encyclopedia and database—to bring song lyrics to the streaming music service. Music fans are obsessed with song lyrics. It’s why so many song lyric sites exist online. However, with most of us now listening to music through a streaming service, it makes sense to display lyrics in the apps themselves. Cue Apple Music and Genius. Apple Music Teams Up With Genius The Apple Music and Genius partnership works both ways….

Read the full article: Apple Music Adds Song Lyrics From Genius

Apple Music users will now be able to sing along to their favorite songs even if they forget the words. This is thanks to Apple teaming up with Genius—the music encyclopedia and database—to bring song lyrics to the streaming music service.

Music fans are obsessed with song lyrics. It’s why so many song lyric sites exist online. However, with most of us now listening to music through a streaming service, it makes sense to display lyrics in the apps themselves. Cue Apple Music and Genius.

Apple Music Teams Up With Genius

The Apple Music and Genius partnership works both ways. Genius will now provide the lyrics for “thousands of hit songs on the service”. Thus, Apple Music users will be able read along with the lyrics as they listen to their favorite songs.

On the flip side, the Genius website and app now have an embedded Apple Music player. This means (signed in) Apple Music subscribers who visit the Genius website or open the Genius app can listen to the songs without having to open Apple Music.

In a post on Genius.com, Ben Gross, Chief Strategy Officer at Genius, said:

“Being able to read lyrics and annotations on Genius while you listen along on Apple Music is a dream Genius experience. We’re proud to make Apple Music our official music player, and we’re doubly excited to bring Genius lyrics to their amazing platform.”

What About Spotify’s Behind the Lyrics?

Interestingly, Genius has an existing partnership with Spotify. This means that for certain songs, you’ll see some of the lyrics and snippets of “Behind the Lyrics” information. It will be interesting to see how Genius’ Apple Music deal affects Spotify moving forward.

This is all healthy competition that’s only likely to force both Spotify and Apple Music to up their game. Which is why we’ve tried to help you pick the best music streaming service for you, and explained how to move to a new music streaming service.

Read the full article: Apple Music Adds Song Lyrics From Genius

Sony Finally Lets You Change Your PSN ID

Sony is finally going to let PlayStation owners change their PSN IDs, and it has only taken 12 years of begging to make it happen. This means people stuck with the same PSN ID they chose in 2006 will finally be able to change it to something more mature. Creating a PSN ID to Last a Lifetime When Sony launched the PlayStation Network in 2006, it asked users to create an online ID. People did just that, but many didn’t take it as seriously as they should have. Cue 30-somethings with dumb names they grew out of a decade ago….

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Sony is finally going to let PlayStation owners change their PSN IDs, and it has only taken 12 years of begging to make it happen. This means people stuck with the same PSN ID they chose in 2006 will finally be able to change it to something more mature.

Creating a PSN ID to Last a Lifetime

When Sony launched the PlayStation Network in 2006, it asked users to create an online ID. People did just that, but many didn’t take it as seriously as they should have. Cue 30-somethings with dumb names they grew out of a decade ago.

Sony has always insisted that allowing people to change their PlayStation Network Online ID was a bad idea. Because PlayStation Trophies and other essential elements are tied to those IDs. However, the company has now decided to lift those restrictions.

Sony Finally Offers PSN ID Changes

On the PlayStation Blog, Sony announced that PSN ID changes are coming. The feature will first be tested as part of the PlayStation Preview Program before being rolled out to everyone. The beta will run until November, with a full rollout in early 2019.

As with Microsoft’s Xbox Live name changes, the first change will be free, but all subsequent changes will cost you cold hard cash. Sony will charge PlayStation Plus members $4.99 per name change, with everyone else charged $9.99 per name change.

When you change your PSN ID you’ll be able to display your old name alongside it. You can also revert back to your original ID for free at any time. Which may be necessary, as Sony is warning that “users may occasionally encounter issues or errors in certain games.”

There May Be Trouble Ahead…

It’s ridiculous that it has taken Sony this long to offer such a feature. Sure, it may cause issues, and if so, we’re sure the PlayStation forums will be full of complaints saying as much. But forcing people to stick with names chosen 12 years ago was bizarre.

Now might be a good time to buy a PlayStation 4 Pro, but not before reading our PS4 Pro review. And if you already own one you should check out our list of the best PlayStation 4 exclusives. However, do bear in mind that the PlayStation 5 is on the way.

Image Credit: Michael Nugent/Flickr

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Spotify Looks Back Over a Decade of Music

Spotify is now 10 years old, and the company which popularized music streaming has taken the opportunity to look back over a decade of discovery. Which means lists of the most-streamed artists and songs, plus other milestones from the past 10 years. A Brief History of Spotify Daniel Ek and his Swedish cohorts launched Spotify in October 2008, having founded the company two years previously. Spotify soon spread from its home country of Sweden to the U.K., and then in 2011, Spotify was launched in the United States. Spotify is now available in 60 countries worldwide, and boasts hundreds of…

Read the full article: Spotify Looks Back Over a Decade of Music

Spotify is now 10 years old, and the company which popularized music streaming has taken the opportunity to look back over a decade of discovery. Which means lists of the most-streamed artists and songs, plus other milestones from the past 10 years.

A Brief History of Spotify

Daniel Ek and his Swedish cohorts launched Spotify in October 2008, having founded the company two years previously. Spotify soon spread from its home country of Sweden to the U.K., and then in 2011, Spotify was launched in the United States.

Spotify is now available in 60 countries worldwide, and boasts hundreds of millions of users, millions of which pay for the privilege. In April 2018, Spotify started trading publicly, with its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Spotify Serves Up Statistics

With 10 years under its belt, Spotify has decided to look back over what it terms a “Decade of Discovery“. And the statistics paint a fascinating picture of what we’ve all been listening to on Spotify between 2008 and 2018.

The most-streamed artists of all time are:

  1. Drake
  2. Ed Sheeran
  3. Eminem
  4. The Weeknd
  5. Rihanna
  6. Kanye West
  7. Coldplay
  8. Justin Bieber
  9. Calvin Harris
  10. Ariana Grande

The most-streamed songs of all time are:

  1. Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You”
  2. Drake – “One Dance”
  3. The Chainsmokers, Halsey – “Closer”
  4. Post Malone – Rockstar” (feat. 21 Savage)
  5. Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
  6. Major Lazer, MØ, DJ Snake – “Lean On”
  7. Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber – “Despacito – Remix”
  8. Justin Bieber – “Love Yourself”
  9. Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
  10. The Chainsmokers – “Don’t Let Me Down”

There’s more to learn too. Such as Humans by The Killers being the most-streamed song in 2008. And the fact that Rihanna was the first artist to reach 1 billion streams. Or, most impressive of all, Spotify racking up 16,858,080 years in total time streamed.

The Decade of Discovery Playlist

Given Spotify’s propensity to create playlists from the data it gathers, it should come as no surprise to learn there’s also a Decade of Discovery playlist. This is packed full of the most-streamed songs people have listened to on Spotify over the past 10 years.

Whether you’re a Spotify veteran or a relative n00b, be sure to read our unofficial guide to Spotify. Or, if you’re experiencing issues with Spotify, read how to fix common Spotify problems. And if you’ve had enough, here’s how to delete your Spotify account.

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Snap Originals Are Short Snapchat TV Shows

Watching TV shows on your smartphone may not sound like a good idea, but more people are doing exactly that. Whether it’s YouTube videos or Netflix Originals, people seem happy to watch video content on their slightly-too-small smartphone screen. This has led Snapchat to commission original programming for its platform. And shows such as ESPN’s SportsCenter and NBC’s Stay Tuned are racking up millions of views. Buoyed by this success, Snapchat is getting a dozen new Snap Originals… How to Watch Snap Originals These Snap Originals are essentially short TV shows made exclusively for Snapchat. Which means they’re all around…

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Watching TV shows on your smartphone may not sound like a good idea, but more people are doing exactly that. Whether it’s YouTube videos or Netflix Originals, people seem happy to watch video content on their slightly-too-small smartphone screen.

This has led Snapchat to commission original programming for its platform. And shows such as ESPN’s SportsCenter and NBC’s Stay Tuned are racking up millions of views. Buoyed by this success, Snapchat is getting a dozen new Snap Originals

How to Watch Snap Originals

These Snap Originals are essentially short TV shows made exclusively for Snapchat. Which means they’re all around five minutes long, all filmed vertically, and all designed to make the most of the platform they’re being shown on.

This means there will be new episodes released every day, and Lenses and Filters released for each show. There will also be Show Portals, which let you step inside scenes from the shows. There will, unfortunately, also be unskippable ads to sit through.

The first Snap Originals to be released are Co-Ed, a new comedy about life at college, Class of Lies, a thriller about true crime podcasters who find themselves investigating a crime, and Endless Summer, a documentary series about Laguna Beach.

Those first three Snap Originals are available to watch right now, with another nine due to debut in the coming months. To find the shows, either search Snapchat for them by name, or open the Discover tab, which will soon have a dedicated section for shows.

Will Snap Originals Succeed or Fail?

With more people seemingly happy to watch video on their smartphone, Snapchat is right to try and take advantage of this trend. However, the success or failure of Snap Originals will ultimately come down to the content, so let’s hope these shows are actually good.

Snapchat isn’t perfect, so we’ve previously written about everything wrong with Snapchat, according to millenials. Some people are even suggesting Snapchat is the new Facebook. Still, teenagers seem to love Snapchat, regardless.

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