Snapchat Updates Discover Publisher Guidelines to Crack Down on Graphic, Inaccurate Content

Courtesy of Snapchat
Snapchat Discover

The new rules affect Snapchat's Discover partners, which include BuzzFeed, CNN, ESPN and Comedy Central.

Snapchat is updating the guidelines for its publisher platform, known as Discover, in an effort to make the service more friendly to users of all ages. 

The app has told its publishing partners, which include BuzzFeed, CNN, ESPN and Comedy Central, that it will prohibit the use of sensitive content — which it defines as profanity and overly sexualized and violent images — on the icons that appear when a user scrolls through the main Discover page. Snapchat has also asked publishers to issue warnings inside their Discover portals if there is content that could offend viewers. An exception will be made for newsworthy content, the company says. 

Snapchat is also taking steps to limit fake news from its Discover platform, telling publishers that all content must be fact-checked before being included on their pages and that links must not lead to deceptive, misleading or fraudulent information. 

To further clean up the app for its young users, Snapchat will add new tools that allow publishers to indicate that their content is too sensitive for viewers under the age of 18, called "age-gating." In most cases the tools, which will be released in February, will be optional, but Snapchat will require the use of age-gating on any content that includes nudity or other indecent content. Publishers will be able to select age-gating on a day-by-day basis. If turned on, the restrictions will apply for the publisher's entire day of programming.

The updates to Snapchat come two years after it introduced Discover as a place for its users to consume video and editorial content programmed directly to them. Snapchat now has about two dozen Discover partners. 

Snapchat is the latest social network to address the growing problem of fake news. Facebook, which came under fire for its promotion of misleading stories during the election, has created a program to forge stronger ties with media outlets and is working on new tools to report fake news. 

Snapchat is making these changes to its Discover platform as its parent company, Snap Inc., prepares for an initial public offering as early as March.