(Photo : Pexels/Pixabay) Snapchat app

Snapchat is reportedly rolling out new features and educational resources that can help prevent its younger users from purchasing illicit drugs on the platform.

The company stated on Oct. 7 that the goal of the new tools is to keep its young users safe from the impacts of counterfeit pills like fentanyl.

Snapchat's New Tools

Snapchat's parent company, Snap, said in a blog post that they are determined to remove all illegal drug sales from the platform, and they have been investing in tools that can proactively detect these sales, according to TechCrunch.

The platform will also work with law enforcement to capture dealers and lock them behind bars.

While the platform still has work to do, their response times have definitely improved since 2020.

The company assured that Snapchat had changed and improved its proactive detection capabilities. This is to remove the drug dealers from the platform before they can engage with the users.

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Snapchat stated that during the first six months of this year, its enforcement rate increased 112%. The proactive detection rate of the platform increased by 260%.

The company also claims that almost two-thirds of drug-related content that are found on the platform is detected proactively by its artificial intelligence system. It has also improved the in-app reporting tools to make it easier for users to report any drug-related content.

Removing Drug Dealers on the Platform

When Snapchat users search for drug-related keywords, they will see a new in-app educational tool called "Heads Up." The tool will show all relevant educational content made to prevent harm.

The tool distributes educational content from different organizations such as Shatterproof and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.

An additional resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be added in the next few weeks.

The launch of the new tools comes as investigations about the death of several teens and young adults were connected to the use of Snapchat.

According to NBC News, the teens were able to purchase pills on the platform, yet they turned out to be laced with fentanyl.

The report stated that the drug dealers have been using the platform to find buyers and that Snapchat was not doing enough to prevent them from selling.

The company stated that the victims' families' stories had reached them, and they are aware of the fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills purchased on the platform. They are determined to remove all illegal drug sales.

Snapchat and TikTok are facing pressure to crack down on the sale and distribution of illicit drugs, especially since they are geared toward young users.

Parent groups have argued that the social media platform are not doing enough to keep young users safe. The U.S Drug Enforcement Administration had issued a warning about the increase of fake pills that are laced with fentanyl.

The agency released a public safety alert warning the public about the availability of fake pills and how deadly they are, according to Forbes.

The agency also pointed out that they are easy to purchase on social media, and they contain lethal doses of fentanyl.

Snapchat is working on making the platform safer for its young users. Aside from the tools that can catch illicit drug deals on the platform, Snapchat also launched the "Run for Office" tool to help young users engage in local politics.

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Written by Sophie Webster

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