Snapchat Limits Friend Suggestions for Teen Accounts

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Snapchat has revealed that it is developing a set of new parental controls that will let users limit how they can communicate with children on the messaging app. According to the firm, its Quick Add feature will be restricted to prevent strangers from finding kids on the app and adding them as friends. The function is intended to protect users of the app who are between the ages of 13 and 17. Snapchat is taking this step to curb the spread of fentanyl and drug-related content on its platform. Snapchat also claims to be attempting to improve its systems for detecting drug-related material and supporting law enforcement authorities with investigations.

Snapchat announced in a blog post on Tuesday that the Quick Add feature, which proposes friends to Snapchat users, has been updated with a new precaution. Adult strangers will only be able to see a minor user’s profile in Quick Add if they share a particular amount of friends. The move, according to Snapchat, would assist ensure that accounts of users aged 13 to 17 are discovered by someone they know in real life.

Snapchat is adopting these steps to tackle the “fentanyl epidemic” and prevent drug traffickers from connecting with minors on the platform, according to the blog post. Snapchat and other social media platforms have been in the spotlight following the deaths of numerous US teenagers as a result of fentanyl-laced pills sold online. According to reports, counterfeit medicines are being peddled on applications like Instagram and Snapchat, with over 93,000 deaths expected by 2020.

In addition to the changes to the Quick Add feature, Snapchat claims it consults with experts on a daily basis to keep its list of slang and drug-related terms restricted on the app up to date. “This is a continuous, continuing endeavor,” the company noted, “that not only prevents Snapchatters from seeing Search results for those terms.” As part of Snapchat’s Heads Up function, users who search for these terms are presented “professional educational resources.”

According to Snapchat, proactive detection rates for drug-related content have increased by 390 percent, with machine learning and artificial intelligence now detecting 88 percent of all drug-related content. The company’s law enforcement staff has also increased by 74% to preserve and release data in response to law enforcement requests. Over the last year, Snapchat claims that reaction times have improved by 85 percent. Snapchat also stated in the blog post that it is working on more parental controls that will be implemented to the app in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Snapchat revealed on Tuesday that it would be releasing a new augmented reality lens that will make users “invisible” when the filter is applied. The new lens was released as part of a collaboration with Lay’s to promote a new flat sliced chip called ‘Lay’s Wafer Style.’ The messaging app frequently releases new filters and features as part of partnerships with brands, such as Sony’s ‘Sound Lenses,’ the Indian Premier League (IPL) for four cricket clubs in 2018, and the World Health Organization (WHO) for Snap Lenses during the coronavirus outbreak in 2020.

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