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Snapchat is making it harder for strangers to contact teens — again

Snapchat Is Making It Harder For Strangers To Contact Teens Again

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Snapchat is, once again, beefing up its safety features to make it harder for strangers to contact teens in the app. The company is adding new warnings about “suspicious” contacts and preemptively blocking friend requests from accounts that may be linked to scams.

It’s not the first time Snap has tried to dissuade teen users from connecting with strangers in the app. The company says the latest warnings go a step further in that the alerts rely on “new and advanced signals” that indicate an account may be tied to a scammer. Likewise, Snap says it will block friend requests sent by users who lack mutual friends with the requestee, and “a history of accessing Snapchat in locations often associated with scamming activity.” The app’s block feature is also getting an upgrade so that users who block someone will also automatically block new accounts made on the same device.

These updates, according to the company, will help address sextortion scams that often target teens across social media platforms, as well as other safety and privacy concerns. Snap, like many of its social media peers, has come under fire from lawmakers over teen safety issues, including sextortion scams and the ease with which drug dealers have been able to contact teens in the app. The latest update also just happens to come shortly after Rolling Stone published an exhaustive investigation into how Snapchat “helped fuel a teen-overdose epidemic across the country.”

The article cited specific features like Snapchat’s Snap Map, which allows users to share their current location with friends, and “quick add” suggestions, which surfaced friend recommendations. (The company began limiting “quick add” suggestions between teen and adult accounts in 2022.) And while teens can still opt-in to the Snap Map location sharing, the company says it’s simplifying these settings so they’re easier to change and surfacing more “frequent reminders” about how they are sharing their whereabouts in the app.

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