Snap is introducing new features to further safeguard the Snapchat community from online harms, including sextortion and bullying. The new suite of tools includes expanded in-chat warnings, enhanced friending protections, simplified location-sharing, and blocking improvements.

Snap public policy lead for Australia and New Zealand, Ben Au said that creating an environment that prioritises the safety, privacy, and wellbeing of Australians remains a priority for the company, in particular that of teens.

“Snapchat is designed differently to traditional social media, with a focus on helping people connect with friends they know in real life, and we’re always working to make Snapchat an even more fun – and safe – place to do just that. As new online harms continue to emerge, we’re committed to developing ways to protect our community against these risks, especially with the safety of young Australians in mind,” he said.

“We’ve worked diligently to fight back against sextortion across the platform, from designing the app to not display public friend lists, which can be used to facilitate sextortion schemes, to not allowing teens to be messaged by anyone they haven’t added as a friend, or don’t have in their phone contacts. And we continue to educate Snapchatters through resources like our in-app Safety Snapshot on financial sextortion, and on our Privacy & Safety Hub.

“Our new safeguards are all about supporting real and genuine connections, empowering young people to make smart choices, and ensuring that every Snapchatter feels secure and confident while using our platform.”

Expanded in-app warnings

In November 2023, Snapchat introduced a pop-up warning when a teen receives a message from someone they don’t already share mutual friends with or have in their contacts. The message informs them of potential risk and reminds them to only connect with people they trust. Since launch, this feature has led to more than 12 million blocks.

Snapchat is expanding these in-app warnings to incorporate new and advanced signals. There will be a warning message if a chat is received from someone who has been blocked or reported by others or is from a region where the teenager’s network isn’t typically located.

Enhanced friending protections

While teens are currently not suggested in Quick Add or Search unless they have multiple mutual connections with the other person, Snapchat is now adding new friending safeguards that make it harder for strangers to find and add teens.

Snapchat will prevent delivery of a friend request altogetherwhen teens send or receive a friend request from someone they don’t have mutual friends with, and that person also has a history of accessing Snapchat in locations often associated with scamming activity.

Blocking improvements

The platform has long offered tools for Snapchatters to easily block someone if they no longer wish to be in touch with them. At times, bad actors create new accounts and continue to try to contact people who have blocked them. Now Snapchat is introducing improvements to blocking tools: blocking a user will also now also block new friend requests sent from other accounts created on the same device.

Simplified location-sharing and additional reminders

All Snapchatters, including teens, are sent regular reminders to check their account security and privacy settings, and only allow Snapchatters to share their location with friends. Now Snapchat is introducing more frequent reminders to make sure that Snapchatters are always up to date on which friends they’re sharing their location with on the Snap Map.

The platform is also introducing simplified location-sharing, making it easier for Snapchatters to customise which of their friends can see their location. With these updates, Snapchatters have a single destination to see exactly which friends they are sharing their location with, update their location settings, and remove their location from the map.

As always, location sharing on the Snap Map remains off by default, meaning that Snapchatters must opt in to share where they are. Snapchatters can only share their location with their existing Snapchat friends.