Snapchat Discover is a section on the popular app where users see news stories and fluff pieces by mainstream news and online magazine publishers.
While Snapchat made it possible Discover publishers to age-gate certain content, Snapchat has not required Discover publishers to be accountable for the messages they send underage audiences. This inappropriately puts the onus of responsibility on children.
News reports indicated that Snapchat issued guidelines to publishers that include restrictions on profanity, sexualized content, sex acts, and sex toys in tiles, as well as repeated use of clothed but sexualized bodies.
Unfortunately, Snapchat’s policy leaves publishers, which include the likes of Cosmopolitan, Brother, The Daily Mail, MTV, and Comedy Central (some of the worst offenders for piping a steady stream of hyper-sexualized, pornified content), to be the arbiters of what constitutes restricted content.
As a result of lack of oversight or strict requirements, Discover publishers are shirking their responsibility to age-gate such content. Children as young as 13 years old are being exposed to Discover stories with sexualized content, explicit descriptions of sex acts, repeated hypersexualized images, and more, despite Snapchat’s aforementioned guidelines.
For example, a 13-year-old user is exposed to content in Discover such as the below stories:
NOTE – more graphic examples are viewable in the proof section on NCOSE’s Snapchat page.
We request that Snapchat recognize its young users ought to receive user-focused design. And so, we request that Snapchat require all publishers to age gate any content for minor users that includes profanity, sexualized content, sex acts (in written or visual depiction), sex toys, as well as repeated use of clothed but sexualized bodies.