Snapchat is introducing new parental control features. The social media platform has announced a series of measures it is taking to protect teenagers from drug dealers who are abusing the app to sell opioids amid the epidemic in the US.
This includes a new “safeguard” to the Quick Add feature, to protect users aged 13 to 17.
In order to be discoverable in Quick Add, users under 18 will need to have a certain number of mutual friends, reducing the chances of them communicating with strangers.
In a blog post, Snap said: “We also know that drug dealers are constantly searching for ways to exploit messaging and social media apps, including trying to find new ways to abuse Snapchat and our community, to conduct their illegal and deadly commerce.”
The company vowed: “We are continuing to develop new measures to keep our community safe on Snapchat, and have made significant operational improvements over the past year toward our goal of eradicating drug dealers from our platform.
“Moreover, although Snapchat is just one of many communications platforms that drug dealers seek to abuse in order to distribute illicit substances, we still have a unique opportunity to use our voice, technology and resources to help address this scourge, which threatens the lives of our community members.”
Snap also provides “in-app information and support to Snapchatters who search for drug-related terms”, via their new education portal, Heads Up.
And Snapchat announced about teaming up with the non-profits Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and Truth Initiative.
What’s more, Snap uses AI to detect “drug-related content” and claims that “88% of drug-related content we uncover is now proactively detected by our machine learning and artificial intelligence technology.”
That’s up 33 per cent since their previous update. Snap is also in touch with law enforcement to assist in investigations.