Over the past few months, the featured stories on Snapchat have been getting more and more sexually explicit.
The Cosmopolitan and Daily Mail stories are ridiculously raunchy and strategically placed right where users (as young as 13 years old) will see them when they go to watch their friends’ stories. Featured stories advertise sex tips and sensational sexualized stories, accompanied by pictures of topless celebrities or other soft-core pornography. Recent posts read, “Kim K’s Sexiest Selfies from 2016,” “Kim and Kylie are Nude and NUDER,” and various sensational sex tips.
Snapchat’s promotion of this content is problematic for two reasons:
1) Snapchat is quickly becoming the most popular app for adolescents, and
2) There is no option for users (either teens or adults) to opt out of seeing the pornographic content.
One day after seeing a particularly offensive featured story, I was fed up with the sexually explicit content on Snapchat decided I wanted to DO something about it. And I knew I was probably only one of many individuals who felt the same way. So I posted my thoughts on this topic to Facebook to see what kind of response I would get from a larger audience. The response was overwhelming! Comments came rushing in, and hundreds of people felt the same way—that they were fed up and something needed to be done. So I created the #NoThanksSnapchat petition and launched it the next morning.
The goal of the #NoThanksSnapchat campaign is to get Snapchat to allow users to opt out of pornographic content they find offensive. I know many Millennials who have deleted Snapchat because they are tired of seeing the sexual content on featured stories and in the Discover section. I also know of many parents who restrict its use because of the sexual content. So the solution for opting out is a win-win situation: users get the option to opt out of seeing the sexually explicit featured stories and Snapchat gets more users who wouldn’t otherwise use the app with sexual content.
The petition has received overwhelming support. After one day the launch of the petition there were 10,000 signatures. And by one week later, we had over 20,000 signatures from all 50 U.S. states, 30 countries, and 6 continents. In seven days we became a worldwide movement. For the past two weeks, people all over the world have been showing their support by signing and sharing the petition and sending their pictures in to our Instagram page, @nothanksnapchat. Supporters write #NoThanksSnapchat on their palms and “raise their hand” to show their support for the campaign and to show Snapchat that they aren’t okay with the sexually explicit content and they, along with thousands of others want the option to opt out of seeing sexually explicit content.
If people want change, all they have to do is raise their hand and join the movement! Sign and share the petition to show Snapchat that their users want options and to choose what we are exposed to on social media. Let’s make this happen!