In a world riddled with “alternative facts” and fake news, Snapchat is doing its part to stop false information from making its rounds.
Snap, the company behind the ephemeral messaging app, today quietly updated its content guidelines for all publishers on Discover, Snapchat’s news platform, in order to combat fake news and content deemed inappropriate for minors. It now requires publications to fact-check articles for accuracy, not publish misleading or deceptive links, and not impersonate or claim to be a person or organization with the intention to confuse or misleads others.
Publications will also have to flag sensitive material—whether because it’s sexually explicit, controversial, violent or profane.
Ahead of an IPO that is currently set to give no say whatsoever to new shareholders, Discover is Snap’s first big attempt at monetizing its platform. News companies currently using Snapchat Discover include CNN, Daily Mail, Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and ESPN.
In reporting the news, the New York Times highlighted a misleading story by MTV on Discover (paywall), which posted a story with the headline “Is this the thirstiest person on earth?” featuring an image of a bikini-clad blonde woman, which had nothing to do with the article. MTV did not immediately return Quartz’s request for comment.
Prior to today, the guidelines for editorial partners hadn’t been comprehensively updated since the feature first launched almost two years ago, a Snap spokesperson told Quartz. Those were different times. Now, Snap wants to empower its “editorial partners to do their part to keep Snapchat an informative, factual, and safe environment for everyone.”
Americans have been riddled with fake news; 88% of adults admitted that fake news had caused either “some” or “a great deal” of confusion, Pew Research Center reported last month. Fake news is rampant on social media and some argue that websites like Facebook and Twitter can solve this issue through thoughtfully designed user interfaces. On the other hand, Germany has taken matters into its own hands and threatened to fine Facebook for propagating fake news. Facebook has rolled out new tools there to combat the phenomenon.
Last year, Snapchat was sued because its media partners posted highly sexual content. Snap noted that it does not see the content of its Discover partners before they post.