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Snapchat to limit friend suggestions for teenagers to prevent contact with strangers

Snapchat to limit friend suggestions for teenagers to prevent contact with strangers


Teens will only see suggested users if they have a certain number of mutual friends

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The Snapchat white ghost logo on a bright yellow background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Snapchat is implementing a new safety feature that limits the friend suggestions teenagers see in the app (via 9to5Mac). Kids aged 13 to 17 years old will now only receive suggestions that have “a certain number of friends in common with that person” through Snapchat’s friend suggestion feature, called Quick Add.

It’s unclear just how many mutual friends a user will need to have in common with a teen in order to appear on their Quick Add list, but Snapchat says it will help ensure users actually know each other in real life. The platform also plans on adding new parental control tools, which it hinted at last year, offering “parents more insight into who their teens are talking to” while still letting teens have a sense of privacy.

An NBC report first shed light on teens using the platform to buy drugs

These changes come as Snapchat works towards preventing users from exploiting the platform for drug dealing in the wake of a fentanyl epidemic that’s affecting both adults and young people. Snapchat reports it’s getting better at tracking down drug-related content and has increased its proactive detection rate by 50 percent since October.

Last year, a report from NBC first shed light on young adults using the platform for buying prescription and recreational drugs and receiving fentanyl instead. Since then, Snapchat has added safety measures, such as its Heads Up education portal that warns users about the risks of fentanyl, as well as reporting tools to combat drug-related activity.