Snapchat has announced new safety measures aimed specifically at its teenage user base, reflecting growing concerns about the safety of the platform.
Snapchat has faced criticism and scrutiny, even from Congress, over issues ranging from age-inappropriate content to its utilization for illegal activities. These new features seem designed to address some of these concerns directly, focusing on enhanced protection for 13- to 17-year-old users.
The platform will display warnings to minors who try to add friends that they do not have mutual friends with or who are not in their contacts. Additionally, Snapchat is increasing the number of mutual friends required for minors to appear in search results, making it more difficult for unknown individuals to contact them.
Snap is implementing a three-strike system for Stories and Spotlight, which will immediately remove flagged or detected inappropriate content. Resources like hotlines will also be highlighted across various features for young people who encounter risky situations online.
The new features are being developed in consultation with The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
A new online resource is being launched for parents, accompanied by a YouTube series aimed at helping families understand Snapchat's workings and parental controls.
Snapchat’s history of announcing but not strictly enforcing new rules remains a concern. The real test will be how these new features are executed and maintained over time.
Snapchat has committed to continuing the development of safety measures over the "coming months," focusing on additional protections for teens and parents.
Snapchat’s new safety features mark a significant step in creating a safer online environment for teenagers. However, effective enforcement will be crucial for these measures to have a meaningful impact. Only time will tell if these efforts sufficiently address the challenges Snapchat faces concerning user safety.