Snapchat Beefs Up Safety Features and Parental Controls to Combat Drug Trade

If you were to take a look at the various social media platforms that are currently out there and break them up based on the demographics that said platforms appear to appeal to, you would notice a stark difference between platforms preferred by younger users as compared to older ones. For example, Snapchat is highly popular among teenagers, far more so than is the case with adults which means that said platform needs to do more to keep its younger users as safe as possible.

There are two really major problems that can occur in platforms such as Snapchat. The first problem has to do with predatory adults trying to add underage users because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing them to manipulate said users. The second issue is associated with the drug trade, with fentanyl in particular being sold by a wide range of dealers that take advantage of Snapchat in order to find as many customers as they can.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that Snapchat is cracking down on this in a number of ways. First and foremost, the platform is giving parents more control over who their kids can and can’t add on the platform. A new feature is going to make it so that underage users would only see friend requests from people that they already have a fair number of mutual with if the setting has been toggled on.

The main advantage of this new feature is that it results in any and all people that kids add on the platform more or less certainly being someone that they actually know in real life or have some other kind of real world connection with. This can make it significantly more difficult for predatory adults and drug dealers to send children add requests on the platform. This also extends to quick add since children will only be able to see people that they have mutual with in the quick add section.

A report was recently released by NBC that discussed the fentanyl epidemic and how some users between the ages of 13 and 23 died after purchasing fentanyl through Snapchat. This is mainly what has spurred Snapchat to implement better controls in this regard, because it has come under fire for not taking enough steps to make this less of an issue. The anonymity that can often come with Snapchat accounts can be useful in some respects, but it also gives malicious actors the ability to connect with vulnerable underage users in a startlingly easy way.

Snapchat has most definitely made some progress in terms of finding drug dealers and deleting their accounts before they can actually sell anything. It recently reported that its automated systems are now capable of detecting around 88% of the drug related content that is currently being shown to Snapchat users and that is a step in the right direction although Snapchat needs to do more if it truly wants its platform to be safe for younger individuals with all things having been considered and taken into account.

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