Snapchat announced on Monday that it will make a concerted effort to clamp down on fake news and sexually explicit content on the platform after introducing new content guidelines. This means that users will no longer be able to use cover images that include sensitive, violent and other forms of ‘shock’ content.
Snapchat has had general guidelines in place advising publishers on what they should and should not include in their posts for some time now, but this is the first time since the visual networking site launched two years ago that it has set out more stringent and explicit advice.
The social platform said that the changes were made following extensive feedback from publishers and users, who have grown accustomed to seeing sexually explicit content on the Discover page, which features visual grid tiles. Snapchat also began allowing publishers to upload magazine-like covers last year, which resulted in an increase in photos and increased competition for clicks.
The move actually inspired a teenager to file a lawsuit against the social site in June 2016, and Snapchat then decided to curb some of the content that was being shared, though there was no official agreement published. The suit was dismissed at a later date. Snapchat said on Monday that its new guidelines will improve the standard of content on the site.
“We take the responsibility of being a source of news, entertainment and information for our community of more than 150 million daily active Snapchatters very seriously,” a spokesperson for Snapchat said in a statement. “Our updated Content Guidelines will help our editorial partners tell these stories.”
The new guidelines focus on four key factors, with the first banning the use of sexualised content or profanity in cover images. The use of sexualised but clothed bodies on a repeated basis is also now forbidden, and a warning must be posted before any violent content is published. In regards to fake news, publishers must now fact-check all the images and written-word content that they upload and are prohibited from linking to anything fraudulent.
The spokesperson concluded: “We have immense respect for their editorial perspectives, prioritize their editorial independence and want to help them achieve the loyalty and trust of our community through substantial, sourced and rewarding content.”
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