A new Snapchat update that the company started experimenting with earlier this month is now rolling out globally. In addition to a design overhaul and a new search bar, the update also ships with a revised set of Discover guidelines aimed to prevent dissemination of fake news and explicit content. Publishers looking to create content for Snapchat's Discover section are now obliged to only upload images that provide some degree of information and aren't explicit in nature. Additionally, publishers are now expected to make sure all of their external links are leading to content that has already been verified as being factually accurate. Publishers themselves are able to conduct the verification process but could face sanctions if they happen to promote sources that have been confirmed as fake.
Rachel Racusen, a spokeswoman for Snap, told The New York Times that the Venice-based social media giant is looking to turn Snapchat into a service that's both safe and informative. Snap's decision to give publishers more responsibility for curating content is somewhat different to the approach adopted by some other social media services like Facebook that are trying to avoid being seen as media companies. Snap's new guidelines are also in line with the firm's previous publishing standards that debuted with Discover back in 2015 and allowed the firm a lot of editorial freedom with the content published by people and companies using its service.
In addition to a new set of Discover guidelines and an overhauled search bar, the latest Snapchat update also introduces a number of new animations and a slightly redesigned user interface. The new version of the popular social media app also puts a larger focus on Bitmoji which are now featured on all profile screens. In overall, this is the largest Snapchat update that was released in 2017 so far and one that continues Snap's policy of running its service as both a social platform and a solution for distributing topical stories. The company's focus on curating content published on Snapchat is now more important than ever seeing how Snap is reportedly planning an IPO in March and would likely want to avoid any scandals involving fake news being spread on its platform.