Snapchat head of news division Xana O'Neill has left the company - Business Insider
Business Insider logo The words "Business Insider".
Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification.

The executive producer leading news at Snapchat has left the company

snapchat ghost phone app
Chesnot/Getty Images

This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.

  • The head of Snapchat's day-to-day news operation, Xana O'Neill, has left the company.
  • O'Neill had 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.
  • Are you a Snap insider with insight to share? Contact this reporter at @PaigeLeskin using a non-work device.
  • Visit Business Insider's 真人百家家乐网站homepage for more stories.

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 was a member of the news division and oversaw Snapchat's news content, including shows and partnerships with news outlets on its Discover platform, multiple current and former employees told Business Insider.

A Snap spokesperson said the company has begun the process for hiring someone to replace O'Neill, who was a manager-level employee. While responsibilities for Snap's news content are distributed among members of the content team, the employees told Business Insider that O'Neill ran day-to-day operations for the platform's news content.

Snapchat's wide-reaching content team is headed up by three executives: Sean Mills, director of content programming; Mike Dibenedetto, director of content strategy; and Vanessa Guthrie, director of original content.

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 media outlets to produce shows exclusively on the platform, and Snapchat has developed a team in-house to produce original news shows. 

Although Snapchat's news content is not at the popularity level of that on Facebook or YouTube, 29% of Snapchat users in 2017 said they got news from the app, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

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. 

O'Neill came to Snap in August 2017 as an executive producer, Mashable reported at the time. She was previously at ABC News, where she served as the managing editor for its digital content.

xana o'neill snapchat Rym Momtaz
Snap head of news Xana O'Neill, right, and journalist Rym Momtaz.
Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Alliance for Women in Media

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, @PaigeLeskin using a non-work device.

Get the latest Snap stock price here.

SEE ALSO: Snap CEO says in internal meeting he doesn't release diversity numbers because it would reinforce the perception that Silicon Valley isn't diverse