Snapchat is trying to make it harder for teens to connect with strangers

The company is making it harder to find teens in search and recommendations.


Snapchat is adding new features meant to discourage teens from interacting with strangers on its app. The changes come after years of scrutiny on the app as lawmakers and other officials have questioned Snap’s ability to keep teens safe.

As with previous updates, the new restrictions primarily affect the accounts of 13- to 17-year-olds on the app. Last year, the company began limiting the visibility of teens’ accounts in its “Quick Add” recommendations to limit strangers’ ability to find young people in the app. Now, the company says it will make teens even harder to find in search and recommendations by increasing the number of mutual friends users must have in order to appear in search and suggested accounts.

And, in cases when teens are able to connect with people with whom they don’t share many mutual friends, Snap will surface warnings encouraging users to only interact with people they know. The warning will be accompanied by an option to block or report the user in question.

The company is also introducing a new strike system for accounts that share “age-inappropriate content” in public-facing parts of the app, like Stories and Spotlight. Under the new system, the app will remove posts that it deems age-inappropriate and dole out a strike to the offending account. Users who rack up too many strikes over a set period of time will have their accounts permanently disabled, according to the company.

Snap has also published a new section of its website aimed at parents who have potential concerns about their teens’ use of Snapchat. The site offers several explainers about the app, including guides on how to use its parental control features.