Snapchat launches new features to protect teens from predators | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Snapchat will introduce more features to keep young users safe from predators. It’s hoped the measures will limit unwanted interactions or potentially risky contact.

The app already requires 13 to 17-year-olds to have several friends in common with another user before they show up in search results or as a friend suggestion – but it is ‘raising the bar’ to require a greater number of mutual friends Pop-up warnings will also alert teens if someone tries to add them who doesn’t share mutual friends or isn’t in their phone book contacts.

It’s hoped the new features will urge teens to carefully consider if they want to be in contact with the person and not to connect with them if it isn’t someone they trust. Both will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

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Illegal and harmful content is currently prohibited across Snapchat, including sexual exploitation, pornography, violence, self-harm and misinformation, with a zero tolerance approach seeing users banned if they engage in such activity. Measures will also be taken to prevent the account holder from getting back on Snapchat and relevant police forces could also be informed.

The two content platforms offered by Snapchat – Stories and Spotlight – are already subject to additional content moderation to prevent violating content from reaching a large audience. However it has now launched a new ‘strike system’, which sees inappropriate content that is proactively detected or reported, immediately removed. If an account is seen to attempt to repeatedly circumvent the rules, it will be banned.

Jacqueline Beauchere, global head of platform safety at Snapchat, said: “With so much of our lives spent online, it’s important for teens to feel equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to help them navigate the digital space safely and responsibly. Regular, open conversations with your teens about their online activity can help to foster safer and more enriching experiences online while also providing an open channel for teens to raise any challenges or concerns they might be facing. I’d also encourage parents, guardians and teachers to familiarise themselves with the key platforms their teens are using, including any reporting tools and parental controls like Snapchat’s Family Centre.”

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National Cyber Security