Dear Snapchat

Subject: Dear Snapchat
From: Vanessa Lynn
Date: 14 Oct 2016

Dear Snapchat,
First, thank you. Thank you for the social networking experience you provide your millions of users. “Snapping” is the perfect way to stay in touch. Thanks for making the idea of "taking a selfie" socially acceptable.
However, there is one thing I am not thanking you for. The sexually explicit material on your Discover page needs to be muted I am calling out companies like VENICE, BUZZFEED, MTV, and COSMOPOLITION. At any given time, there’s been up to 13 out of the 30 possible, almost half of your “news and entertainment” stories devoted to “Sex hacks” or “Why BDSM is good for you”. Now, to be clear, I am not condemning those who are interested in reading such articles. However, you market your app to those who are 12 years or older. Should these 12 year olds be viewing a collection of screen shots of facial reactions of Disney movie characters with references to sex in the captions? Should 12 year olds have such easy and sometimes accidental access to such sexually charged articles? I don’t think so. I’m a 20-year-old college student and I don’t even want access. Your user data is clear. 25% of your user base are minors. You warn your users not to send sexually explicit messages, but give no warning to what your users can easily view in your app. The biggest issue isn’t what users are sending other users, its what YOU, the host, are promoting through YOUR discover page. Is this not contradictory? I understand that while I do not find the investigative memoir of “Is Kim Kardashian wearing underwear?” news worthy, other people do, and I respect that, I even respect those who want to “Spice up the bedroom”, but given your audience there needs to be a way to turn this off. You lack a way to differentiate adult users from minors, you know this, and CONTINUE to do nothing.
I am not naïve; I have read The Communications Decency Act. I understand these are third party companies that publish such seemingly crude articles. I appreciate that you believe in Editorial independence. I also know, that you receive the money from the ads scattered through these stories. You apologize if people are offended by your media partners, yet you OVERSEE the stories that are published. We are not asking for these “news” articles to be pulled. We are asking for a way for users to OPT OUT.
While you offer many fun and exciting filters for your users to alter their selfies with, you have yet to offer a filter to screen the trash that you allow on your discover mode, and that needs to end.