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.