New Features to Help Protect Our Community

June 25, 2024

Today we’re announcing new features to further safeguard our community from online harms. Our new suite of tools includes expanded in-app warnings, enhanced friending protections, simplified location-sharing, and blocking improvements – all designed to reinforce the real friend relationships that make Snapchat so unique. 

These expanded features build on our ongoing work to make it difficult for strangers to contact people on Snapchat. For example, we don’t allow anyone to be messaged by someone they haven’t already added as a friend, or have in their phone contacts. In other words, Snapchatters must proactively select who they communicate with.

Today we are introducing the following tools to help keep our community safe:

Expanded In-App Warnings

Last November, we introduced a pop-up warning when a teen receives a message from someone they don’t already share mutual friends with or have in their contacts. The message informs teens of potential risk so they can carefully consider if they want to be in contact and reminds them to only connect with people they trust. Since launch, this feature has empowered millions of Snapchatters to take action, leading to more than 12 million blocks.1

Now we’re expanding these in-app warnings to incorporate new and advanced signals. Teens will now see a warning message if they receive a chat from someone who has been blocked or reported by others, or is from a region where the teen’s network isn't typically located – signs that the person may be a scammer.

Enhanced Friending Protections

Previously we shared that teens will not be suggested in Quick Add or Search unless they have multiple mutual connections with the other person. We are now adding new friending safeguards that, coupled with our expanded in-app warnings, make it much harder for strangers to find and add teens:

We will prevent delivery of a friend request altogether when teens send or receive a friend request from someone they don't have mutual friends with, and that person also has a history of accessing Snapchat in locations often associated with scamming activity. This applies regardless of whether the friend request was sent out by a teen, or sent to a teen from a potential bad actor.

Taken together, these two updates continue our work to address a growing trend of sophisticated sextortion scams, committed by financially motivated bad actors, typically located outside the U.S. and interacting with potential victims across a combination of online platforms. 

These updates build on our work to combat online sextortion: We have never offered public friend lists (which can be used to facilitate sextortion schemes), we use signal-based detection to identify and remove bad actors before they have the opportunity to target others, we have invested in global cross-platform research, and we collaborate with other platforms to combat this crime and other potential harms. We encourage Snapchatters to learn more through our educational resources, like our in-app Safety Snapshot on financial sextortion, and on our Privacy & Safety Hub

Simplified Location-Sharing and Additional Reminders

We send all Snapchatters – including teens – regular reminders to check their account security and privacy settings, and only allow Snapchatters to share their location with friends. Now we’re introducing more frequent reminders to make sure that Snapchatters are always up to date on which friends they’re sharing their location with on the Snap Map. We’re also introducing simplified location-sharing, making it easier for Snapchatters to customize which of their friends can see their location. With these updates, Snapchatters have a single destination to see exactly which friends they are sharing their location with, update their location settings, and remove their location from the map.

As always, location sharing on the Snap Map remains off by default, meaning that Snapchatters have to proactively opt in to share where they are. And 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.

Blocking Improvements

We have long offered tools for Snapchatters to easily block someone if they no longer wish to be in touch with them. Sometimes, bad actors create new accounts and continue to try to contact people who have blocked them. In an effort to prevent bullying and potential repeat harassment, we’re introducing improvements to our blocking tools: Blocking a user will also now block new friend requests sent from other accounts created on the same device.

These new tools build on our ongoing commitment to help Snapchatters communicate with their close friends in an environment that prioritizes their safety, privacy, and well-being. We look forward to continuing to create even more protections, tools, and resources to help protect our community.

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1 Snap Inc. internal data, November 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024.