Snapchat Limits Friend Suggestions for Teen Accounts

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Snapchat is changing its friend recommendation feature following calls for increased safety on the app. The company is making it harder for adult strangers to find teens in its app by limiting friend recommendations in its “Quick Add” feature, reports Engadget. Kids aged 13 to 17 years old will now only receive suggestions that have “a certain number of friends in common with that person” through Snapchat’s friend suggestion feature.
The platform also plans on adding new parental control tools, which offering “parents more insight into who their teens are talking to” while still letting teens have a sense of privacy. These changes come as Snapchat works towards preventing users from exploiting the platform for drug dealing in the wake of a fentanyl epidemic that’s affecting both adults and young people. Snapchat reports it’s getting better at tracking down drug-related content and has increased its proactive detection rate by 50 percent since October.
Snapchat says it regularly works with experts to update its list of slang and drug-related terms that are blocked on the app. “This is a constant, ongoing effort that not only prohibits Snapchatters from getting Search results for those terms,” the company explained. Users who search for these terms are then shown “expert educational resources” as part of Snapchat’s Heads Up tool.
Lawmakers and safety advocates have pushed Snap to do more to keep dealers off of Snapchat following reports of overdoses linked to drugs bought through the app. Snap also said that it has improved its ability to proactively detect “drug-related content” on its platform, with 88 per cent of “drug-related content” now being “proactively detected” with AI. The company also noted it has staffed up the team that works directly with law enforcement agencies and has “significantly improved” its response time to law enforcement requests.