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Snapchat Introduces New Safety Features to Combat Teen Sextortion

In a significant move to enhance the safety of its younger users, Snapchat announced the rollout of new safety features aimed at protecting teenagers from the growing threat of financial sextortion scams. This initiative comes as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to create a safer online environment for its users.

The new safety measures include enhanced warning notifications that alert teens when they receive messages from individuals who are not in their mutual friends or contacts list. Additionally, Snapchat will issue cautionary messages if a chat comes from a user who has been blocked by others or if the user is based in a region where the teen lacks other contacts, indicating potential fraudulent activity.

One of the critical updates involves blocking friend requests between teens and accounts in regions associated with scams if they do not have mutual friends. These changes specifically target the disturbing trend of financial sextortion, where perpetrators manipulate young users into sending explicit photos and then demand payment to prevent the images from being shared.

Jacqueline Beauchere, Snap’s Global Head of Platform Safety, highlighted the importance of these new features in safeguarding teenagers online. “These updates are crucial in our mission to protect young people from the dangers of online sextortion and to foster genuine connections on Snapchat,” Beauchere stated. She emphasized that the company’s proactive approach aligns with the rising concerns surrounding online sextortion scams, which have tragically led to severe consequences such as suicides.

In addition to these measures, Snapchat has enhanced its blocking tools to prevent users from circumventing blocks by creating new accounts. The platform will also issue more frequent reminders to all users, particularly teenagers, regarding their location settings on the ‘Snap Map’ feature, allowing for greater control over location sharing with friends.

These advancements complement Snapchat’s existing safety initiatives for teens, which include parental supervision through the ‘Family Center’ and content moderation tools to filter out inappropriate material. By continuously refining its safety protocols, Snapchat aims to provide a secure and enjoyable experience for its young users.

The introduction of these new safety features underscores Snapchat’s commitment to addressing the alarming trend of financial sextortion and ensuring the well-being of its teenage users. As online safety remains a paramount concern, the company continues to take significant steps to protect its community from potential threats.