Snapchat is changing up its friend recommendation feature following calls for increased safety on the app. The company is making it harder for adult strangers to find teens in its app by limiting friend recommendations in its “Quick Add” feature.
Now, the app won’t show the accounts of 13 to 17-year-olds in Quick Add unless they have “a certain number of accounts in common,” according to Snap. While the change won’t prevent adults and teens from connecting at all, it could make it more difficult for strangers to find teens they don’t already know. In a blog post, the company said the change was part of its work to "combat the fentanyl epidemic" and keep drug dealers from finding "new ways to abuse Snapchat."
The company has faced scrutiny over its handling of drug dealers on its platform in recent months. Lawmakers and safety advocates have pushed Snap to do more to keep dealers off of Snapchat following reports of overdoses linked to drugs bought through the app. Snap also said Tuesday that it has improved its ability to proactively detect “drug-related content” on its platform, with 88 percent of “drug related content” now being “proactively detected” with AI. The company also notes it has staffed up the team that works directly with law enforcement agencies and has “significantly improved” its response time to law enforcement requests.
At a Senate hearing last fall, Snap’s VP of Global Public Policy Jennifer Stout said the company was working on new parental control features that would make it easier for parents to monitor their children’s activity in the app. Those updates still have yet to launch, though the company hopes to make them available “in the coming months.”