Snapchat to limit teen friend suggestions to avoid contact with strangers

Snapchat implements a new security feature that limits the friend suggestions teens see in the app (via 9to5Mac). Kids ages 13 to 17 now only receive suggestions that “have a certain number of friends in common with that person” through Snapchat’s friend suggestions feature called Quick Add.

It’s not clear how many mutual friends a user must have in common with a teen to appear on their Quick Add list, but Snapchat says it will ensure users know each other in real life. The platform also plans to add new parental control tools, which it hinted at last year, that will “give parents more insight into who their teens are talking to,” while still giving teens a sense of privacy.

These changes come as Snapchat tries to prevent users from abusing the platform for drug trafficking in the wake of a fentanyl epidemic that affects both adults and young people. Snapchat reports that it is getting better at detecting drug-related content and has increased its proactive detection rate by 50 percent since October.

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

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