Update on Our Ongoing Work to Combat the U.S. Fentanyl Epidemic

Last year, as part of our ongoing efforts to understand young people’s awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and the broader epidemic of counterfeit pills, we conducted a survey of young Americans and found that nearly half (46%) rated their average stress level as 7 out of 10 or above. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) of respondents agreed that people their age feel overwhelmed.

By now, it is well understood and documented that the U.S. is facing a significant mental health crisis among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, 37% of high schoolers reported poor mental health, while 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year. 

This era of extraordinary challenges to emotional well-being has contributed to an epidemic of young people, including teenagers, turning to illicit prescription drugs as a coping mechanism. Tragically, drug cartels are preying on young people’s search for coping mechanisms, flooding the country with cheap, counterfeit prescription pills that are frequently poisoned with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, over 40% of illicit pills tested contained potentially lethal levels of fentanyl. 

Studies show prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing form of drug abuse among teens, with as many as one in six teenagers reporting using prescription drugs to alter their moods or other purposes. Across the nation, scores of Americans, including a growing number of young Americans, are dying from fentanyl after taking what they believed were safer, legitimate prescription pills.

According to our own study, about 15% of those aged 13-24 have abused prescription medicines, one in five have thought about doing so, and 40% know someone who has done so. Eighty-four % say coping with anxiety and stress is the reason they and their peers are turning to pills.

At Snap, we have always had a zero-tolerance policy against using our platform in connection with illicit drug sales, and have focused on combating the fentanyl epidemic in three key ways: by constantly improving our technologies for proactively detecting this content and shutting down drug dealers who abuse our platform; by strengthening our support for law enforcement; and by partnering with expert organizations to educate Snapchatters directly in our app about the horrific dangers of fentanyl. You can learn more about our strategy in previous public updates here and here

It’s been a year since we launched the first steps of our ongoing in-app public awareness campaign and we wanted to provide an overview of continuing work to address this crisis from every angle:  

  • We have engaged former heads of federal drug enforcement agencies to advise us on these efforts, and work closely with experts in counternarcotics, the law enforcement community, organizations focused on raising awareness of fentanyl and counterfeit pills, and parents. 

  • To further strengthen our support for law enforcement investigations, we have heavily invested in growing our own law enforcement operations team by 74% over the last year, with many of these new team members joining from careers as prosecutors and law enforcement officials with experience in youth safety. Last October, we held our first annual Law Enforcement Summit, with more than 1,700 law enforcement officials from federal, state and local agencies participating. 

  • We are investing heavily in AI and machine learning tools to proactively detect dangerous drug activity on Snapchat, and work with experts to find illicit drug-related content across other platforms that references Snapchat, so we can find drug dealers’ accounts and take swift action to shut them down. As a result, our detection volumes have increased by more than 25% since the beginning of the year, and 90% of identified violating illicit drug content is proactively detected before any Snapchatter has the opportunity to report it.

  • When we find illicit drug dealers using our platform, we promptly ban their accounts, and take steps to block them from creating new ones. We cooperate with law enforcement investigations, including by preserving and disclosing data in response to valid legal requests. 

  • We block search results on Snapchat for drug keywords and slang, and instead show educational content from experts about the dangers of fentanyl through an in-app portal called Heads Up. Our partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Truth Initiative, and the SAFE Project. Since the launch of Heads Up, over 2.5 million Snapchatters have been proactively served content from these organizations. 

  • We have also added new measures to limit Snapchatters under 18 from showing up in search results or as a friend suggestion to someone else unless they have friends in common. This builds on protections we’ve long had in place that require teens to be friends with another Snapchatter in order to communicate directly.

  • We have launched several series of video advertising campaigns in our app to educate Snapchatters about fentanyl. Our first, launched last summer in partnership with Song for Charlie, was viewed over 260 million times on Snapchat. Last month, as part of National Fentanyl Awareness Day, we ran another set of in-app public service announcements, a national Lens, and filter that were viewed nearly 60 million times. 

  • Our in-house news show, Good Luck America, which is promoted on our content platform in Snapchat and is also available in Heads Up, has been covering the fentanyl crisis for more than a year through a special dedicated series, which has been viewed by more than 900,000 Snapchatters to date. 

  • As part of our larger strategy, we’re also committed to working with other platforms. We recently began a pilot program with Meta in which we are sharing patterns and signals of illicit drug-related content and activity. This signal-sharing program allows both platforms to bolster our proactive detection efforts in finding and removing illicit drug content and dealer accounts. We look forward to continuing this collaboration, with the goal of having other platforms join us as we work across industry to help combat the growing fentanyl epidemic. 

  • Last month, we announced that we’re teaming up with the Ad Council and other tech platforms, including Google and Meta, on an unprecedented public awareness campaign that will launch this summer to help both young people and parents learn more about the dangers of fentanyl. Learn more about this new campaign here.

  • As an app built for communicating with real friends, who are a critical support system for each other when dealing with mental health challenges, we continue to expand our in-app tools and resources on a range of mental health topics – a long-term and ongoing priority for us. (Learn more here and here). 

  • Additionally, we’re developing new in-app tools for parents and caregivers to give them more insight into who their teens are talking to on Snapchat, while still respecting Snapchatters’ privacy. We plan to roll these new features out in the coming months.

Taken together, we believe these measures are making Snapchat an increasingly hostile environment for drug dealers and we will continue to examine how we can keep meaningfully improving our efforts, knowing dealers will always look for ways to evade our systems. 

We also recognize that this issue goes far beyond Snapchat. Ultimately, the solution to this epidemic lies in a nationwide effort to address the root causes of this crisis, including the conditions that create such profound mental health challenges for young people. We will keep working with and listening to our community on this critical topic. Our long-term goal as a society must be nothing less than a world in which far fewer young people experience mental health challenges and those that do have equitable access to appropriate services and care, rather than feeling they must turn to illicit drugs. This will require a coordinated effort between government, law enforcement, the technology sector, health care services and more, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help support this goal. 

Mental Health Awareness Month: Announcing an Industry-Wide Campaign to Combat the Nationwide Fentanyl Epidemic

Over the past year and a half, Snap has been deeply focused on doing our part to help combat the broader national fentanyl crisis, which has continued to intensify during the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 100,000 people died due to drug overdose in the 12-month period ending November 2021. And according to a recent study published in JAMA, 77% of adolescent overdose deaths in 2021 involved fentanyl. 

At Snap, we have taken a holistic approach to eradicating drug dealers from our platform, strengthening our support for law enforcement investigations, and educating Snapchatters about the dangers of counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. Our work has involved working closely with parents, expert organizations, and law enforcement to continue to learn how we can keep strengthening these efforts.

To help inform our in-app education efforts, last year we commissioned research from Morning Consult to better understand young people’s awareness of fentanyl, and why they are increasingly turning to prescription pills. Our research not only found that young people were significantly unaware of the extraordinary dangers of fentanyl and how pervasive it is in counterfeit prescription pills, but it brought to light the strong correlation between the larger mental health crisis and the increased use of prescription drugs. Teenagers are suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety, and as a result are experimenting with non-medical, abuse of prescription drugs as a coping strategy. 

Through all of our ongoing work, it has become clear that a larger, industry-wide approach is needed to help educate both young people and parents about the dangers of fentanyl. 

Today we’re grateful to be collaborating with the Ad Council on an unprecedented public awareness campaign launching this summer to help Americans learn about the dangers of fentanyl. Snap, along with Meta and Google, will be funding this effort. With the help of additional media partners, we will also be donating media space and developing and distributing content designed to educate both young adults and parents on this growing fentanyl crisis. 

Additionally, we’re sharing updates on our continued work to crack down on drug-related activity by improving our underlying technology to better detect drug-related content, while continuing to increase public awareness through key partnerships and in-app educational resources. 

Since our last public update in January, we have put even stronger machine learning models in place for automatically detecting drug-related text, images, and emojis. As of March 2022, more than 90% of the dangerous drug-related content that we proactively detected using these tools has been removed within minutes.

We’re also expanding our educational resources for Snapchatters by: 

  • Welcoming new partners like SAFE Project founded by Admiral James and Mary Winnefeld – working to combat the nation's catastrophic addiction epidemic  – to Heads Up, our in-app portal that distributes expert resources to Snapchatters who search for a range of drug-related search terms and slang. Since the launch of Heads Up, over 2.5 million Snapchatters have been proactively served educational content from trusted expert organizations like Song for Charlie, Shatterproof, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and Truth Initiative.

  • Expanding our partnership with CADCA by collaborating with their National Advisory Youth Council to develop Heads Up resources specifically geared towards substance misuse, community engagement, and prevention advocacy.  

  • Teaming up with the Partnership to End Addiction – the nation’s leading organization dedicated to addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery – to develop a guide focused on educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of fentanyl, and provide tips for how to discuss the risks with their teens. This will be available in English and Spanish on the Partnership to End Addiction’s resource page and on Snap’s Safety Center. 

  • As part of our ongoing special Good Luck America series focused on the fentanyl crisis, in the coming weeks we will release our next episode featuring an interview with Dr. Rahul Gupta, the Director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, to help Snapchatters understand the drug-overdose epidemic and its impact on young Americans. 

In addition to these new tools and resources, we are also updating our in-app reporting flow to make it even easier for Snapchatters to report harmful content – that way, we can act even faster to protect our community. We’re doing this by reducing the number of steps it takes to submit a report, providing detailed definitions of each reporting category so it’s clear what our corresponding policies are, increasing the number of reporting categories so there’s more specificity around the type of abuse that’s taking place and closing the feedback loop by letting Snapchatters know what take we take on their reports.

In the upcoming months, we will also be rolling out our new parental tools, with the goal of giving parents more insight into who their teens are talking to on Snapchat, while still respecting the teen’s privacy. 

Additional Efforts to Support our Community’s Mental Health and Wellbeing 

With Mental Health Awareness Month underway, we are also announcing a slate of new partners and launching creative and educational tools to help Snapchatters look after their mental health and wellbeing, and to support their friends. We believe this is especially important given the strong correlation between mental health and young people self-medicating. These efforts include: 

  • Participating as a partner in the White House’s first-ever Mental Health Youth Action Forum alongside leading mental health non-profits in an effort to empower young people to drive action on mental health. 

  • Serving as a Founding Partner of Mental Health Action Day. In an effort to remind Snapchatters to take care of their own wellbeing, we will launch a new augmented reality (AR) Lens that encourages Snapchatters to take a wellness break and participate in a breathing exercise. 

  • In addition, we’re adding new partners to Here for You, our in-app mental health portal, including The Jed Foundation, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Movember, and the National Alliance for Eating Disorders.

As we roll out these additional resources, we continue to prioritize the mental health and wellbeing of our community every day. As an app built to help people communicate with their real-life friends – who we know are critical support systems for those experiencing mental health challenges – we will continue to develop innovative tools and resources to help Snapchatters to stay healthy and safe.  

Snap Partners with It’s On Us for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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In February, Snapchat partnered with It’s On Us, a national non-profit dedicated to combating campus sexual assault through awareness and prevention education programs, to announce our important new Snap Map safety feature helping friends share their real-time location. 

Together with It’s On Us, we introduced this new tool to help  Snapchatters to look out for one another while they are on the go, whether they are on their way to meet up, or on their way home at night–and already, more than three million members of our community use the feature to connect with their friends each week on average.  

This April, for Sexual Assault Awareness month, Snapchat and It’s On Us haved joined forces again to continue our community education around this important issue with new in-app resources and content, including:

  • A Lens raising awareness around this important issue, reminding Snapchatters to look out for their friends;

  • An episode of Snapchat’s original news show, Good Luck America, where our host Peter Hamby explores what’s happening around Title IX and sexual assault on U.S. college campuses today; and 

  • Map Markers on our Snap Map. These unique, tappable icons highlight a handful of active university It’s On Us chapters. Our Snap Map Markers link seamlessly back to the Lens in our Camera to make it easy for Snapchatters to share the message with their friends. 

With many in our community heading back out and about, whether they are on their way to spring break or coming back to campus, we know that this is a critical moment to raise awareness around this important issue. We’re proud to partner with It’s On Us to help Snapchatters keep each other safe.

If you or a loved one is in need of extra support at this time, please know that you are not alone. Please head to https://www.itsonus.org/ where you can find additional resources.

Apply to join our growing Safety Advisory Board!

Since 2018, members of Snap’s Safety Advisory Board (SAB) have provided critical feedback on fostering the safety and well-being of our Snapchat community, and they’ve helped us navigate some complex safety issues. Thanks to the expert advice and guidance of our SAB members and their partnership, we’ve made progress over the last four years, implementing important awareness-raising and educational efforts.

Snap remains committed to helping parents, caregivers, safety advocates, and others better understand how young people experience our platform and how we approach vital issues that impact safety and trust. However, given the ever-changing online safety landscape, we believe we have an opportunity to “reinvent” and relaunch our SAB to include new members who reflect our global community and our growth across products, including augmented reality and hardware, as well as expertise regarding newer online risks facing young people and their families. 

With those goals in mind, today we are opening applications to join our new and expanded SAB, which we hope will include members from diverse geographies and safety disciplines, including research, academia, technology and related fields. In keeping with Snap’s commitment to being victim- and survivor-informed in safety matters, we also welcome applications from those who may have experienced hardship or tragedy related to online interactions. Indeed, we are open to all applicants who have a unique perspective to share and an interest in constructively advising our ongoing safety work.     

We believe this approach to fashioning an SAB is unique among technology platforms, and we’re eager to receive applications from all corners of the globe. The application process will remain open for about two months, after which we will invite a number of experts to join our board.

In keeping with past practice and to help ensure the independence of our SAB, members will not receive compensation for their participation. Commitments will include three board meetings per year of roughly two hours each, in addition to occasional email correspondence. Those invited to join the SAB will be asked to agree to Terms of Reference, outlining expectations of board members as well as Snap’s commitments to the SAB.    

If you are interested in applying or would like to recommend someone, please complete this short application form by Friday, July 22. As advocates for online safety, we’re excited about the next chapter as we grow our network of advisors and trusted partners. Learn more and apply here!

- Jacqueline Beauchere, Snap Global Head of Platform Safety

Our Transparency Report for the Second Half of 2021

We are committed to making each of our Transparency Reports more comprehensive than the last. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly, as we know our stakeholders care as deeply about online safety and accountability as we do. As part of these ongoing efforts, we have made several additions and improvements to our latest Transparency Report, which covers the second half of 2021.

First, we are offering new detail on the amount of content we enforced against drug-related violations. We have zero tolerance for promoting illicit drugs on Snapchat and prohibit the buying or selling of illegal or regulated drugs. 

Over the past year, we have been especially focused on combating the rise of illicit drug activity as part of the larger growing fentanyl and opioid epidemic across the U.S. We take a holistic approach that includes deploying tools that proactively detect drug-related content, working with law enforcement to support their investigations, and providing in-app information and support to Snapchatters through our fentanyl-related education portal, Heads Up. Heads Up surfaces resources from expert organizations when Snapchatters search for a range of drug-related terms and their derivatives. As a result of these ongoing efforts, the vast majority of drug-related content we uncover is proactively detected by our machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, and we will continue working to eradicate drug activity from our platform

When we find activity involving the sale of dangerous drugs, we promptly ban the account, block the offender from creating new accounts on Snapchat, and have the ability to preserve content related to the account to support law enforcement investigations. During this reporting period, seven percent of all content we enforced against globally, and 10 percent of all content we enforced against in the U.S., involved drug-related violations. Globally, the median turnaround time we took action to enforce against these accounts was within 13 minutes of receiving a report.

Second, we have created a new suicide and self-harm category to share the total number of content and account reports that we received and took action on when our Trust & Safety teams determined that a Snapchatter may be in crisis. When our Trust & Safety team recognizes a Snapchatter in distress, they have the option to forward self-harm prevention and support resources, and to notify emergency response personnel where appropriate. We care deeply about the mental health and wellbeing of Snapchatters and believe we have a duty to support our community in these difficult moments. 

In addition to these new elements in our latest Transparency Report, our data shows that we saw a reduction in two key areas: Violative View Rate (VVR) and the number of accounts we enforced that attempted to spread hate speech, violence, or harm. Our current Violative View Rate is (VVR) 0.08 percent. This means that out of every 10,000 Snap and Story views on Snapchat, eight contained content that violated our Community Guidelines. This is an improvement from our last reporting cycle, during which our VVR was 0.10 percent. 

The fundamental architecture of Snapchat protects against the ability for harmful content to go viral, which removes incentives for content that appeals to people’s worst instincts, and limits concerns associated with the spread of bad content such as disinformation, hate speech, self-harm content, or extremism. In the more public parts of Snapchat, such as our Discover content platform and our Spotlight entertainment platform, we curate or pre-moderate content to ensure it complies with our guidelines before it can reach a larger audience. 

We continue to be vigilant to improve our human moderation and as a result, we have improved the median enforcement turnaround time by 25 percent for hate speech and eight percent for threats and violence or harm to 12 minutes in both categories. 

We believe it's our most important responsibility to keep our community safe on Snapchat and we are constantly strengthening our comprehensive efforts to do that. Our work here is never done, but we will continue communicating updates about our progress and we are grateful to our many partners that regularly help us improve.

Announcing New Policies for Snap’s Developer Platform

We want Snapchatters to have fun and stay safe when using our services, and that goal drives the design of our products, our policies and our platforms for third-party developers. We also focus on building technologies that support real-life human connections and communications between close friends – a principle that helps create more secure and more positive online experiences. 

We first launched our Snap Kit Developer platform to bring some of Snapchat’s most popular features to third party applications and services. From the outset, we set safety and privacy standards for all participating apps, and required that developers go through a review and approval process when they first apply to work with us so we can examine how their integration will work and their customer support operations. 

Among other things, our guidelines prohibit bullying, harassment, hate speech, threats and other types of harmful content – and we require that developers have adequate safeguards in place to protect their customers and take action on any reports of abuse. 

Last year, a lawsuit raised serious allegations about two integrated apps that included anonymous messaging features. At the time, we suspended both apps from Snap Kit, and began conducting an extensive review of the program’s standards and policies. 

As a result of this review, today we are announcing several changes to our developer platform that we believe are in the best interest of our community, and further aligned with our focus of supporting communications that reflect real-life friendships. 

Banning Anonymous Messaging 

First, we will prohibit apps that facilitate anonymous messaging from integrating with our platform. During our review, we determined that even with safeguards in place, anonymous apps pose risks for abuse that are impossible to mitigate at an acceptable level. 

While we know that most Snapchatters used these anonymous integrations in fun, engaging, and entirely appropriate ways, we believe some users might be more prone to engage in harmful behavior – such as bullying or harassment – if they have the shroud of anonymity. Under our new policy, we will not allow third-party apps to use a Snapchat integration to facilitate communication between users without registered and visible usernames and identities.

Age-Gating Friend Finding Apps to 18+ 

Our review was holistic and examined the privacy and safety of integrated apps well beyond anonymous messaging. Today we are also announcing that friend-finding apps will not be allowed unless they are age-gated and restricted to Snapchatters over 18. This change will better protect younger users and is more consistent with Snapchat’s use case – communications between close friends who already know each other. 

As a platform that works with a wide range of developers, we want to foster an ecosystem that helps apps protect user safety, privacy, and wellbeing, while unlocking product innovation for developers and helping them grow their businesses. 

We believe we can do both, and will continue to regularly evaluate our policies, monitor app compliance, and work with developers to better protect the wellbeing of our community.

Looking Out For Friends on the Snap Map

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At Snap, we help friends stay connected no matter where they are, and we want to give our community even more tools to safely explore the world around them. So today, we are introducing a new safety feature for the Snap Map that will help Snapchatters look out for one another while they are on the go, whether they are on their way to meet up, or on their way home at night. 

Since 2017, Snapchatters have been able to opt in to share their location with their friends on the Snap Map, but to date the app needed to be open for their location to be updated. This new tool will give Snapchatters the option to share their real-time location with a close friend even while their app is closed. With this new buddy system, Snapchatters can throw their phone in their pocket and head out the door, feeling confident that the people they trust most are looking out for them while they're on the move.

Location sharing on the Snap Map has always been, and will continue to be, off by default, meaning that Snapchatters have to proactively opt in to share where they are. Importantly, Snapchatters can only ever share their whereabouts with their existing Snapchat friends – there is no option to broadcast their location to the wider Snapchat community. 

As a platform built for communicating with close friends, we know that location sharing can be an easy and impactful way for young people to stay connected and safe. In fact, according to feedback from our community, we know that Snapchatters feel even more connected to their friends when they see them on Snap Map, and that they are motivated to share their location with friends because they think it’s a safe and fun way to stay connected. 

We’ve built this new tool to offer Snapchatters a buddy system, and we’ve included several safety elements from the start, including:

  • A fast and clear way to activate, so Snapchatters can share their real-time location in an instant if they ever feel unsafe.

  • Limited time sharing & notification-free pausing so Snapchatters can easily turn this off when they’ve reached their destination. Plus, this minimizes any undue pressure to constantly share. 

  • Required two-way friendship meaning that only those who have mutually added each other as friends on Snapchat can share their location, keeping in line with our existing Snap Map policies. 

  • A safety notice that pops up when Snapchatters use the feature for the first time, ensuring our community knows that this is meant to be used only with close friends and family.

  • Ultra clear design so Snapchatters always understand their setting selections and who can see their location.

We are all adjusting to new ways of being out and about in the world -- especially on college campuses, where Snapchat is widely used. Many students have gone back to campus to be with their friends despite remote or hybrid learning, but with schools expecting less activity on the grounds, there may be gaps in normal security and safeguards. That's why we are launching this new tool as part of a partnership with It’s On Us, a national non-profit dedicated to combating campus sexual assault through campus awareness and prevention education programs. Starting today, a new PSA from It’s On Us will debut in our app, encouraging our community to look out for one another. 

We know many parents may have questions about how the Map works, who can see Snapchatters’ locations (if they choose to share them), and the policies and tools we have in place. So, we wanted to share more on the key safety and privacy features of the Snap Map:

  • Location Sharing is OFF by Default and Only for Friends: For all Snapchatters, location-sharing is off by default and completely optional. Snapchatters can update their location sharing preferences at any time by tapping the settings gear at the top of the Snap Map. There, they can hand select which existing friends can see their location, or hide themselves completely with ‘Ghost Mode.’ Snapchatters who do decide to share their location on the Map will only be visible to those they have selected -- we don’t give anyone the option to share their location publicly with people they have not proactively and mutually added as a friend. 

  • Education & Reminders: Snapchatters are taken through a tutorial when they use Snap Map for the first time. Here, they can learn how to opt-in for location sharing, how to select friends to share with, and how to update settings at any time. Snapchatters who choose to share their location with their friends receive periodic reminders asking them to confirm that they are still comfortable with their settings and if they are not, they can easily switch off location sharing without prompting other users.

  • Additional Privacy Safeguards: Only content that is proactively submitted to the Snap Map appears on it; Snaps between friends remain private. For Snapchatters who maintain our default privacy setting, content shown on the Map is automatically anonymized, so anyone looking at the Map cannot see the name, contact information, or exact location of the person who shared. We also protect sensitive businesses and locations on the Map.

We know that mobile location sharing is sensitive and needs to be used with caution, but we believe that with the right safeguards in place, it can be an impactful way for friends to not only stay connected, but also to help keep each other safe. We encourage you to visit our support page here for more information.

Safer Internet Day 2022: Your report matters!

Today is international Safer Internet Day (SID), an annual event dedicated to people coming together around the world to make the internet safer and healthier for everyone, especially young people. SID 2022 marks 19 straight years of Safer Internet Day celebrations, and the world is again rallying around the theme, “Together for a better internet.”

At Snap, we’re taking this opportunity to highlight the benefits and importance of letting us know when you see something on Snapchat that may be of concern to you. Snapchat is about sharing and communicating with close friends, and we want everyone to feel safe, confident and comfortable sending Snaps and Chats. Still, there may be times when people may share content or behave in a way that conflicts with our Community Guidelines.

When it comes to staying safe online, everyone has a role to play, and we want all Snapchatters to know that reporting abusive or harmful content and behavior – so that we can address it – improves the community experience for everyone. In fact, this is one of the most important things Snapchatters can do to help keep the platform free of bad actors and harmful content.

Reporting reluctance

Research shows young people may be unwilling to report content or behaviors for a variety of reasons. Some of these may be rooted in social dynamics, but platforms can also do a better job of debunking certain myths about reporting to foster comfort in contacting us. For example, in November 2021, we learned that just over a third of young people surveyed (34%) said they worry what their friends will think if they take action against bad behavior on social media. In addition, almost one in four (39%) said they feel pressure not to act when someone they personally know behaves badly. These findings come from Managing the Narrative: Young People’s Use of Online Safety Tools, conducted by Harris Insights and Analytics for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and sponsored by Snap. 

The FOSI research polled several cohorts of teens, aged 13 to 17, and young adults, aged 18 to 24, in the U.S. In addition to the quantitative components, the survey sought participants’ general views on reporting and other topics. One comment from an 18-year-old summed up a number of young people’s perspectives, “I guess I didn’t think the offense was extreme enough to report.” 

Fast Facts about reporting on Snapchat

The FOSI findings suggest possible misconceptions about the importance of reporting to platforms and services in general. For Snapchatters, we hope to help clear those up with this handful of Fast Facts about our current reporting processes and procedures. 

  • What to report:  In the conversations and Stories portions of Snapchat, you can report photos, videos and accounts; in the more public Discover and Spotlight sections, you can report content. 

  • How to report:  Reporting photos and videos can be done directly in the Snapchat app (just press and hold on the content); you can also report content and accounts via our Support Site (simply complete a short webform).  

  • Reporting is confidential:  We don’t tell Snapchatters who reported them.

  • Reports are vital:  To improve the experiences of Snapchatters, reports are reviewed and actioned by our safety teams, which operate around the clock and around the globe. In most instances, our teams action reports within two hours. 

  • Enforcement can vary:  Depending on the type of Community Guidelines or Terms of Service violation, enforcement actions can range from a warning, up to and including account deletion. (No action is taken when an account is found not to have violated Snapchat’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service.) 

We’re always looking for ways to improve, and we welcome your feedback and input. Feel free to share your thoughts with us using our Support Site webform

To commemorate Safer Internet Day 2022, we suggest all Snapchatters review our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service to brush up on acceptable content and conduct. We’ve also created a new reporting Fact Sheet that includes a helpful FAQ, and we updated a recent “Safety Snapshot” episode on reporting. Safety Snapshot is a Discover channel that Snapchatters can subscribe to for fun and informative safety- and privacy-related content. For some added enjoyment to mark SID 2022, check out our new global filter, and look for additional improvements to our in-app reporting features in the coming months.    

New resource for parents 

Finally, we want to highlight a new resource we’re offering for parents and caregivers. In collaboration with our partners at MindUp: The Goldie Hawn Foundation, we’re pleased to share a new digital parenting course, “Digital Well-Being Basics,” which takes parents and caregivers through a series of modules about supporting and empowering healthy digital habits among teens. 

We look forward to sharing more of our new safety and digital well-being work in the coming months. In the meantime, consider doing at least one thing this Safer Internet Day to help keep yourself and others safe. Making a personal pledge to report would be a great start! 

- Jacqueline Beauchere, Global Head of Platform Safety

Data Privacy Day: Supporting the Privacy and Wellbeing of Snapchatters

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Today marks Data Privacy Day, a global effort to raise awareness about the importance of respecting and safeguarding privacy. Privacy has always been central to Snapchat’s primary use case and mission.

We first built our app to help people connect with their real friends and feel comfortable expressing themselves authentically – without feeling pressure to curate a perfect image or measure themselves against others. We wanted to reflect the natural dynamics between friends in real life, where trust and privacy are essential to their relationships.

We designed Snapchat with fundamental privacy features baked into the app’s architecture, to help our community develop that trust with their real-life friends, and support their safety and wellbeing:

  • We focus on connecting people who were already friends in real life and require that, by default, two Snapchatters opt-in to being friends in order to communicate.

  • We designed communications to delete by default to reflect the way people talk to their friends in real life, where they don’t keep a record of every single conversation for public consumption.

  • New features go through an intensive privacy- and safety-by-design product development process, where our in-house privacy experts work closely with our product and engineering teams to vet the privacy impacts.

We’re also constantly exploring what more we can do to help protect the privacy and safety of our community, including how to further educate them about online risks. To help us continue to do that, we recently commissioned global research to better understand how young people think about their online privacy. Among other things, the findings confirmed that almost 70% of participants said privacy makes them feel more comfortable expressing themselves online, and 59% of users say privacy and data security concerns impact their willingness to share on online platforms You can read more of our findings here.

We feel a deep responsibility to help our community develop strong online privacy habits – and want to reach Snapchatters where they are through in-app education and resources. 

We regularly remind our community to enable two-factor authentication and use strong passwords -- two important safeguards against account breaches, and today are launching new content on our Discover platform with tips about creating unique account credentials and how to set up two-factor authentication. 

We are launching new privacy-focused creative tools, including our first-ever privacy-themed Bitmoji, stickers developed  with the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), a new Lens in partnership with Future Privacy Forum that shares helpful privacy tips.

In the coming months, we will continue to leverage our research findings to inform additional in-app privacy tools for our community.  

Conoce a nuestra jefe global de seguridad de la plataforma

¡Hola, comunidad Snapchat! Mi nombre es Jacqueline Beauchere y me vinculé a Snap el otoño pasado como la primera jefe global de seguridad de la plataforma de la empresa. 

Mi rol se centra en mejorar el enfoque general de Snap hacia la seguridad, incluida la creación de nuevos programas e iniciativas para aumentar la conciencia de los riesgos en línea, dar asesoría sobre políticas internas, herramientas y funciones de producto, y escuchar e interactuar con público externo, todo para apoyar la seguridad y el bienestar digital de la comunidad de Snapchat. 

Como mi rol implica ayudar a los defensores de la seguridad, a los padres, educadores y otras partes interesadas clave a comprender cómo funciona Snapchat y pedirles comentarios y opiniones, pensé que podría ser útil compartir algunos de mis aprendizajes iniciales sobre la aplicación: qué me sorprendió, y algunos consejos útiles, si tú o alguien cercano es un entusiasta Snapchatter. 

 Lecciones iniciales: Snapchat y seguridad 

Tras más de 20 años trabajando en seguridad en línea en Microsoft, he visto un cambio significativo en el panorama de riesgos. A principios de la década del 2000, temas como el spam y el phishing resaltaban la necesidad de generar conciencia para ayudar a educar a los consumidores y a minimizar los riesgos fruto de la ingeniería social. La llegada de las plataformas de redes sociales -y de la capacidad de la gente para generar contenido abierto al público- aumentó la necesidad de incluir funciones de seguridad y de moderación de contenido integradas para minimizar la exposición a contenidos y actividades ilegales y potencialmente más nocivas.  

Hace diez años, Snapchat entró en escena. Sabía que la empresa y la aplicación eran "diferentes", pero solo hasta cuando comencé a trabajar aquí entendí que no me había dado cuenta de lo diferentes que son. Desde sus inicios, Snapchat fue diseñado para ayudar a la gente a comunicarse con sus verdaderos amigos, es decir, personas que conocen "en la vida real", en lugar de acumular un gran número de seguidores conocidos (o desconocidos). Snapchat gira en torno a la cámara. De hecho, para los Snapchatters que no somos de la primera generación (como yo), la propia interfaz de la aplicación puede ser algo misteriosa porque se abre directamente a una cámara y no a un canal de contenido como las plataformas de las redes sociales tradicionales. 

El diseño de Snapchat involucra mucho más de lo que uno pudiese esperar, y ese enfoque considerado se deriva del inmenso valor que la empresa le da a la seguridad y a la privacidad. La seguridad es parte del ADN de la empresa y está incorporada dentro de su misión: empoderar a la gente para que se exprese, viva el momento, aprenda sobre el mundo y se divierta con otra gente. A menos que la gente se sienta segura, no se sentirá cómoda expresándose libremente cuando se conecte con amigos.

La creencia de que la tecnología debe ser construida para reflejar los comportamientos humanos y la dinámica de la vida real es un motor importante en Snap. También es vital desde una perspectiva de seguridad. Por ejemplo, de manera predeterminada, cualquier persona no puede ponerse en contacto contigo en Snapchat; las dos personas deben aceptarse una a la otra como amigas para poder comenzar a comunicarse directamente, parecido a como interactúan los amigos en la vida real.

Snap aplica principios de privacidad por diseño cuando desarrolla nuevas funciones, y fue una de las primeras plataformas en avalar y aceptar la seguridad por diseño, lo que significa que la seguridad se tiene en cuenta desde la fase de diseño de nuestras funciones, y no a través de refaccionamientos o de añadir maquinaria de seguridad después de los hechos. Por lo tanto, y de manera apropiada, las maneras en las que se puede hacer mal uso o abusar de un producto o función desde una perspectiva de seguridad se tienen en cuenta desde las etapas más tempranas del desarrollo.  

Lo que me sorprendió: algo de contexto detrás de algunas funciones clave 

Teniendo en cuenta el tiempo que llevo en seguridad en línea y trabajando en la industria, había oído algunas preocupaciones sobre Snapchat. A continuación doy algunos ejemplos y lo que he aprendido en los últimos meses. 

Contenido que se elimina por defecto 

Snapchat probablemente es más conocido por una de sus primeras innovaciones: contenido que se elimina de manera predeterminada. Al igual que otros, hice mis propias suposiciones sobre esta función y, en realidad, es algo diferente a lo que supuse inicialmente. Más aún, refleja la dinámica de los amigos de la vida real.

El enfoque de Snapchat está arraigado en el diseño centrado en los seres humanos. En la vida real, las conversaciones entre amigos no se guardan, se transcriben o se graban a perpetuidad. La mayoría de nosotros nos sentimos más a gusto y podemos ser más auténticos cuando sabemos que no se nos juzgará por cada palabra que digamos o cada pieza de contenido que creemos. 

Una percepción errónea que he escuchado es que el enfoque de Snapchat de eliminar por defecto hace imposible acceder a pruebas de comportamiento ilegal para las investigaciones penales. Esto es incorrecto. Snap tiene la capacidad, y lo hace, de preservar el contenido para las fuerzas de la ley en respuesta a solicitudes legítimas. Para obtener más información sobre cómo se eliminan los Snaps y los Chats, consulta este artículo

Extraños que buscan adolescentes

Una preocupación natural para todo padre cuando hay interacciones en línea es la forma en la que personas extrañas pueden encontrar a sus hijos e hojas adolescentes. De nuevo, Snapchat está diseñado para comunicaciones entre amigos de verdad; no facilita conexiones con personas desconocidas como algunas plataformas de las redes sociales. Debido a que la aplicación fue construida para comunicarse con personas que ya conocemos, por diseño, es difícil que extraños encuentren y se comuniquen con personas específicas. Por lo general, las personas que se comunican en Snapchat ya se han aceptado unas a otras como amigas. Además, Snap ha añadido protecciones para que sea aún más difícil que extraños encuentren a menores de edad, como prohibir perfiles públicos para menores de 18 años. Snapchat solo permite que menores de edad aparezcan en listas de sugerencias de amigos (Añadido fácil) on resultados de Búsquedas si tienen amigos en común.  Una nueva herramienta que queremos que conozcan los padres y los cuidadores es la revisión de amigos (Friend Check-Up), que invita a los Snapchatters a revisar sus listas de amigos para confirmar que las personas incluidas siguen siendo personas con las que quieren estar en contacto. Las personas con las que ya no te quieres comunicar se pueden eliminar fácilmente. 

Mapa de Snaps y compartir ubicación

En este mismo sentido, he oído preocupaciones sobre el Mapa de Snaps, un mapa personalizado que permite a los Snapchatters compartir su ubicación con amigos y encontrar lugares y eventos locales relevantes, como restaurantes y shows. Por defecto, los ajustes de ubicación en el Mapa de Snaps se definen como privados (modo fantasma) para todos los Snapchatters. Los Snapchatters tienen la opción de compartir su ubicación, pero solo pueden hacerlo con otros a quienes haya aceptado como amigos, y tomar decisiones sobre compartir su ubicación específicamente para cada amigo/a. No es un enfoque de "todo o nada" a compartir nuestra ubicación con amigos. Otra ventaja del Mapa de Snaps para la seguridad y la privacidad: si alguien no ha usado Snapchat durante varias horas, dejarán de estar visibles para sus amigos en el mapa.  

Lo más importante desde una perspectiva de seguridad es que un Snapchatter no puede compartir su ubicación en el mapa con alguien con quien no sea amigo, y los Snapchatters tienen control total sobre con cuáles amigos eligen compartir su ubicación, o si no quieren compartir su ubicación.

Contenido nocivo

Desde un principio, la empresa tomó una decisión deliberada de tratar de manera diferente las comunicaciones privadas entre amigos y el contenido público a disposición de un público más amplio. En las partes más públicas de Snapchat, donde el material probablemente sea visto por un público más grande, el contenido se depura o se modera previamente para evitar que material potencialmente nocivo se "vuelva viral". Dos partes de Snapchat entran en esta categoría: Descubre, que incluye contenido de editores de medios de comunicación y creadores de contenido verificados y autorizados, y Destacados, donde los Snapchatters comparten su propio contenido entretenido con la comunidad en general.

En Destacados, todo el contenido se revisa con herramientas automatizadas, pero luego se somete a una capa adicional de moderación humana antes de ser elegible para ser visto, actualmente, por más de una docena de personas. Esto ayuda a garantizar que el contenido cumpla con las políticas y las pautas de Snapchat, y ayuda a mitigar los riesgos que puedan haber sido pasados por alto por la moderación automatizada. Al tratar de controlar la viralidad, Snap disminuye el gusto por publicar contenido ilegal o potencialmente nocivo públicamente, lo que, a su vez, supone niveles considerablemente más bajos de exposición a expresiones de odio, material sobre autolesiones y material extremista violento, para mencionar solo algunos ejemplos, en comparación con otras plataformas de redes sociales.

Exposición a las drogas

Snapchat es una de las muchas plataformas en línea de las los traficantes de drogas pretenden hacer mal uso en todo el mundo y, si has visto noticias en los medios de comunicación sobre padres y parientes que han perdido hijos por una pastilla de fentanilo falsificada, puedes entender lo desgarradora y aterradora que puede ser esta situación. Nosotros sí que lo hacemos, y nuestros corazones son solidarios con aquellos que han perdido seres queridos por cuenta de esta intimidante epidemia.

En el último año, Snap ha abordado de manera agresiva y exhaustiva el tema del contenido relacionado con el fentanilo y las drogas de tres formas clave:

  • Desarrollo u despliegue de nuevas tecnologías para detectar actividades relacionadas con drogas en Snapchat para, a su vez, identificar y eliminar a los traficantes de drogas que hacen uso indebido de la plataforma;

  • Refuerzo y adopción de medidas para apuntalar nuestro apoyo a las investigaciones de las fuerzas de la ley, para que las autoridades puedan llevar rápidamente a los perpetradores ante la justicia; y

  • Creación de conciencia sobre los peligros del fentanilo entre los Snapchatters, a través de anuncios de servicio público y contenido educativo directamente en la aplicación (se puede obtener más información sobre todos estos esfuerzos aquí.)

Estamos decididos a que Snapchat sea un entorno hostil para las actividades relacionadas con las drogas, y seguiremos ampliando este trabajo en los próximos meses. Mientras tanto, es importante que los padres, cuidadores y los jóvenes entiendan la amenaza generalizada de drogas falsas potencialmente fatales que se han difundido por las plataformas en línea, y que hablen con familiares y amigos sobre los peligros y sobre cómo mantenerse seguros. 

Snap tiene muchos planes para 2022 en temas de seguridad y privacidad, incluido el lanzamiento de nuevas funciones de investigación y seguridad, así como la creación de nuevos recursos y programas para informar y empoderar a nuestra comunidad para que adopte prácticas digitales más seguras y más sanas. ¡Celebremos el inicio de un nuevo año productivo, repleto de aprendizaje, compromiso, seguridad y diversión!   

- Jacqueline Beauchere, Jefe global de seguridad de la plataforma