http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Woman_on_phone_Credit_Pexels_CC0_License_CNA_11_2_15.jpgLos Angeles, Calif., Jan 24, 2017 / 05:47 pm (CNA).- Snapchat users tired of frequently seeing scantily-clad members of the Kardashian family in Discover stories will be happy to hear that the popular social platform has heard their complaints.
In response to criticism and a lawsuit, Snapchat announced yesterday that it was updating its policies on its Discover section, which features syndicated snap stories from select publishers that are viewed by more than 100 million users every month.
The new guidelines more explicitly restrict news and photos that lack editorial value, and clarify ambiguous language regarding policies on stories containing nudity, profanity and violence.
Snapchat also created a tool that allowed publishers to prevent users under 18 from seeing certain content. The company has also reserved the right to block inappropriate content from users under 18.
Social media experts told the New York Times that the changes could have a positive effect on potential advertisers, who now may be more willing to place stories in the cleaned-up section.
The changes came in response to a class action lawsuit that was brought against the company in July which alleged that the Discover section intentionally exposed minors “to harmful, offensive, prurient and sexually offensive content without warning minors or their parents that they would be exposed to such explicit content,” according to a report from the New York Times.
The lawsuit cited examples of offensive content, including a Buzzfeed story that featured sexualized Disney characters, and a story from Cosmopolitan about an artist who let others touch her inappropriately.
The lawsuit was dismissed in November, as both sides agreed to settle.
Also at this time, a separate petition was started against Snapchat by Malissa Richardson, a Millennial Snapchat user who said she was tired of seeing the “sexually explicit headlines and pictures” that “bombarded” the Discover section of her feed.
“I do not care to see articles about how to improve my sex life, how to lose my virginity, or what I should know about what guys like in bed. To me, that is offensive and disgusting. What frustrates even me more is that I am not the only person exposed to this pornographic material. I hate to think that my younger siblings, friends, and millions of other young people as young as 13 years old are exposed to this content multiple times a day without the option of blocking it,” Richardson wrote in the description of her petition on change.org.
The campaign, entitled #NoThanksSnapchat, rapidly caught on, and easily surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures overnight. **The petition **currently has more than 26,000 signatures.
Fight the New Drug, an organization that fights pornography addiction among young people, applauded Richardson’s efforts and Snapchat’s new guidelines in a recent blog post: “Moral of the story? Never be afraid to speak out and fight for real love, no matter what. You never know what kind of change it can create.”