Snapchat will start cracking down on overtly sexual and misleading stories in its Discover section, a company spokesperson told Business Insider on Monday. Publishers who participate in Snapchat Discover will be required to not show “sensitive content, including profanity, overly sexualized content, and violent content.” Snapchat is leaving an exception for content that publishers deem newsworthy, as long as a warning is shown first.
The decision comes as Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. prepares to go public at a potential $25 billion valuation in the coming weeks. Snap was also sued last year by the mother of a 14-year-old boy who claimed the app regularly showed explicit content to minors without proper age warnings. The lawsuit has since been settled outside of court.
Snapchat’s new Discover guidelines, which were first reported by the New York Times, are intended to “keep Snapchat an informative, factual, and safe environment for everyone,” according to a spokesperson. Snapchat will also let publishers restrict sensitive content from being seen by users under the age of 18 starting in February.
“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 Snap spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Snapchatters are curious about the world. They want to know about what’s important, not just what’s popular. They want to see and experience new things — unique stories from credible voices and varied perspectives.”
Snapchat’s Discover section has been critiqued in the past for its racy, tabloid-esque from publishers like the Daily Mail, but now the app is stressing that media outlets it works with will fact-check their stories and not falsely impersonate other publishers or people.
The change of tone should help Snapchat’s ad offerings sit better with potential investors and keep the app from promoting the fake news that plagued Facebook in the months leading up to the presidential election.