After facing a lot of criticism for not taking its abuse and harassment policies seriously, Snapchat has now banned anonymous messaging features from third-party apps that integrate with its platform.
The change comes after a lawsuit last year sought to hold Snapchat liable for misuse of its platform linked to the death of a teenager who was being bullied on two Snapchat-connected apps.
Here’s what Snap said on its new policies via a blog post:
Banning Anonymous Messaging
First, we will prohibit apps that facilitate anonymous messaging from integrating with our platform. During our review, we determined that even with safeguards in place, anonymous apps pose risks for abuse that are impossible to mitigate at an acceptable level.
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. Under our new policy, we will not allow third-party apps to use a Snapchat integration to facilitate communication between users without registered and visible usernames and identities.
Age-Gating Friend Finding Apps to 18+
Our review was holistic and examined the privacy and safety of integrated apps well beyond anonymous messaging. Today we are also announcing that friend-finding apps will not be allowed unless they are age-gated and restricted to Snapchatters over 18. This change will better protect younger users and is more consistent with Snapchat’s use case – communications between close friends who already know each other.
As a platform that works with a wide range of developers, we want to foster an ecosystem that helps apps protect user safety, privacy, and wellbeing, while unlocking product innovation for developers and helping them grow their businesses.
We believe we can do both, and will continue to regularly evaluate our policies, monitor app compliance, and work with developers to better protect the wellbeing of our community.