Snapchat’s confusing—just ask the producers of E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Or, uh, us.
So, okay—we’ve got a Snapchat mystery on our hands. Or a conspiracy theory. Or just…a very strange occurrence. Whatever this is, if you’ve got any ideas about what the hell is up with Kim K’s Snapchat, please, for the love of god, get at us. We’re already in too deep.
Background: Last night’s episode of KUWTK took us through what happened when Kim K was robbed in Paris. The episode included three clips from the star’s personal Snapchat account. And typically, “KUWTK” episodes are highly-produced affairs, clearly shot and edited by professional film crews—but this entry was, shall we say, of the cinéma vérité tradition, with a variety of handheld shots that seemed unconstrained by scripts.
In other words, the episode was meant to feel real as hell—which is why it’s so strange that the snaps depicted on KUWTK don’t line up with how the actual product works. Yes, people: We have questions. It’s conspiracy time.
In the episode, Kim’s snaps include a countdown clock in the upper-right corner that begins at the number 95:
The editing in the episode is great—in this moment, Kim announces she’s about to snap and then the screen cuts to the actual snap she shared.
We know this, because that snap is archived via the “@kimksnapchats” Instagram account:
Because of how the scene’s presented, it looks like Kim is filming with the countdown clock—which would have meant she has a different version of the app than us plebs are accustomed to. Because when the rest of us take a video snap, we see a centered circle that counts up to a maximum time of 10 seconds, rather than down from 95.
We reached out to Kim Kardashian’s spokeswoman, who said, “According to her, it’s not different.” She then expressed concerns that we were obsessing over this (which, fair).
Once we realized the episode was presenting a snap as if you were watching it on your phone, things made slightly more sense—but still didn’t add up.
See: Snapchat actually used to display a timed countdown clock when you viewed someone’s Story. But the company quietly killed that functionality way back in September 2015, long before Kim K even joined the app. According to Snapchat, the countdown would not have displayed last October.
Still, the timer persisted throughout the episode as Kim shared two more snaps:
Here’s where it gets even nuttier: These two snaps were posted one right after the other, according to the @kimksnapchats archive.
In the first snap, the makeup artist in the background crosses in front of the light as the timer shifts from 70 to 69. The actual snap continues for about two and a half seconds, which would bring us down to 67 or 66.
For the second snap, the TV show’s footage begins as Kim lowers the phone past her nose with a timer of 64. The original snap starts a bit earlier and takes between 3.3 and 3.4 seconds to get to reach this point.
Perhaps the queen of Snapchat actually hasn’t mastered the app.
So, the timing actually matches up, more or less: The first snap ends at 67ish and we see where the second one picks up around 3 seconds later at 64.
With that in mind…
THEORY ONE: The Kardashians actually do have some secret, different version of the app that was still displaying the countdown clock in October 2016—or whenever they recorded these snaps. But this would be an odd way to capture the footage for KUWTK, because Snapchat has a built-in way to save your stories to play at your convenience.
Doing so removes Snapchat’s app interface, so the clock wouldn’t display—which means that to record this footage from the supposed Kardashian Version™ of Snapchat, the crew, or whoever recorded it did so while playing it from Kim’s “My Story” tab.
That’s inefficient, and thus the news value of this story (a term we use loosely here, with our heads hung in embarrassment) is that the queen of Snapchat actually hasn’t mastered the app. Cue dramatic music.
But then there’s another, more likely possibility.
THEORY TWO: Someone at E! added the countdown clock in post-production under the mistaken impression that this is how Snapchat works. (If this is true, at least they paid enough attention to the timing of these snaps to make sure they synced up.)
A rep for the company was exhausted by our questions and said they’d look into it, but we never got an answer, obviously.
There’s one final, intriguing possibility:
THEORY THREE: Kim might be using a totally outdated version of Snapchat. An app update was required to remove the countdown clock, and maybe Kim never took the plunge. Which, by the way, would be totally crazy, because (A) updates often have to do with security bugs as much as anything else, but also, (B) it’s Kim Kardashian. She is, aside from, like, Evan Spiegel, the last person in the world you’d expect to have an old version of Snapchat on their phone.
But! She didn’t officially join Snapchat until March 2016:
Again: Snapchat got rid of the timer in 2015. Is it possible that Kim was lurking on Snapchat for months and months before she said she was “finally on” the service? And if that’s possible, is it also within the realm of imagining that this was actually not her first snap?
In that case, did we just learn for the very first time that the Kardashians—and reality television writ large—manufacture events to profit from their supposed legitimacy?
Can we not trust our celebrities, social media and—for crying out loud—E! to give us anything but the unvarnished truth?
We’ll keep you updated, unless you (A) have a better theory or (B) know what the shit is going on, here, and feel like telling us. We’re all ears.