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Snap bans anonymous messaging features from third-party app integrations

The company will also restrict all friend finding apps to users 18 and older

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

Snap is banning anonymous messaging features from third-party apps that integrate with its platform over concerns that they could be used for bullying and harassment. The change comes after a lawsuit last year sought to hold Snap liable for misuse of its platform linked to the death of a teenager who was being bullied on two Snapchat-connected apps. The third-party apps, Yolo and LMK, both had anonymous messaging features and were suspended by Snap shortly after the suit was filed.

“While we know that most Snapchatters used these anonymous integrations in fun, engaging, and entirely appropriate ways, we believe some users might be more prone to engage in harmful behavior — such as bullying or harassment — if they have the shroud of anonymity,” the company says in a blog post.

Snap also says today it will require friend-finding or meetup apps in its developer program to be restricted to people 18 and older to protect young users. The company says the change is “more consistent with Snapchat’s use case — communications between close friends who already know each other.”

Snap Kit, launched in 2018, allows for third-party apps to integrate with Snapchat. Developers apply to participate in the program, and are subject to safety and privacy policies set by Snap, including a ban on bullying, harassment, hate speech, and that developers take action if abuse happens. More than 1,500 developers are in Snap Kit; 2 percent will be affected by the ban on anonymous messaging, and 3 percent will be affected by the age restriction of meetup apps.