Senate Congressional Testimony — Our Approach to Safety, Privacy and Wellbeing

Today, our VP of Global Public Policy, Jennifer Stout, joined other tech platforms in testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security about Snap’s approach to protecting young people on our platform. 

We were grateful for the opportunity to explain to the Subcommittee how we intentionally built Snapchat differently from traditional social media platforms, how we work to build safety and privacy directly into the design of our platform and products, and where we need to continue to improve to better protect the wellbeing of our community. We have always believed that we have a moral responsibility to put their interests first — and believe that all tech companies must take responsibility and actively protect the communities they serve. 

We welcome the Subcommittee’s ongoing efforts to investigate these critical issues — and you can read Jennifer’s full opening statement below. A PDF of the full testimony is available here.

****

Testimony of Jennifer Stout Vice President of Global Public Policy, Snap Inc

Introduction

Chairman Blumenthal, Ranking Member Blackburn, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Jennifer Stout and I serve as the Vice President of Global Public Policy at Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat. It’s an honor and privilege to be back in the Senate 23 years after first getting my start in public service as a Senate staffer, this time in a much different capacity — to speak about Snap’s approach to privacy and safety, especially as it relates to our youngest community members. I have been in this role for nearly five years, after spending almost two decades in public service, more than half of which was spent in Congress. I have tremendous respect for this institution and the work you and your staff are doing to make sure that tech platforms ensure that our youth are having safe and healthy online experiences. 

To understand Snap’s approach to protecting young people on our platform, it’s helpful to start at the beginning. Snapchat’s founders were part of the first generation to grow up with social media. Like many of their peers, they saw that while social media was capable of making a positive impact, it also had certain features that negatively impacted their friendships. These platforms encouraged people to publicly broadcast their thoughts and feelings, permanently. Our founders saw how people were constantly measuring themselves against others through “likes” and comments, trying to present a version of themselves through perfectly curated images, and carefully scripting their content because of social pressure. Social media also evolved to feature an endless feed of unvetted content, exposing people to a flood of viral, misleading, and harmful content. 

Snapchat was built as an antidote to social media. In fact, we describe ourselves as a camera company. Snapchat’s architecture was intentionally designed to empower people to express a full range of experiences and emotions with their real friends, not just the pretty and perfect moments. In the formative years of our company, there were three major ways our team pioneered new inventions to prioritize online privacy and safety. 

First, we decided to have Snapchat open to a camera instead of a feed of content. This created a blank canvas for friends to visually communicate with each other in a way that is more immersive and creative than sending text messages. 

Second, we embraced strong privacy principles, data minimization, and the idea of ephemerality, making images delete-by-default. This allowed people to genuinely express themselves in the same way they would if they were just hanging out at a park with their friends. Social media may have normalized having a permanent record of conversations online, but in real life, friends don’t break out their tape recorder to document every single conversation for public consumption or permanent retention. 

Third, we focused on connecting people who were already friends in real life by requiring that, by default, both Snapchatters opt-in to being friends in order to communicate. Because in real life, friendships are mutual. It’s not one person following the other, or random strangers entering our lives without permission or invitation. 

A Responsible Evolution

Since those early days, we have worked to continue evolving responsibly. Understanding the potential negative effects of social media, we made proactive choices to ensure that all of our future products reflected those early values. 

We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel to do that. Our team was able to learn from history when confronting the challenges posed by new technology. As Snapchat evolved over time, we were influenced by existing regulatory frameworks that govern broadcast and telecommunications when developing the parts of our app where users could share content that has the potential to reach a large audience. For instance, when you talk to your friends on the phone, you have a high expectation of privacy, whereas if you are a public broadcaster with the potential to influence the minds and opinions of many, you are subject to different standards and regulatory requirements. 

That dichotomy helped us to develop rules for the more public portions of Snapchat that are inspired by broadcast regulations. These rules protect our audience and differentiate us from other platforms. For example, Discover, our closed content platform where Snapchatters get their news and entertainment, exclusively features content from either professional media publishers who partner with us, or from artists, creators, and athletes who we choose to work with. All of these content providers have to abide by our Community Guidelines, which apply to all of the content on our platform. But Discover publisher partners also must abide by our Publisher Guidelines, which include requiring that content is fact-checked or accurate and age-gated when appropriate. And for individual creators featured in Discover, our human moderation teams review their Stories before we allow them to be promoted on the platform. While we use algorithms to feature content based on individual interests, they are applied to a limited and vetted pool of content, which is a different approach from other platforms.

On Spotlight, where creators can submit creative and entertaining videos to share with the broader Snapchat community, all content is first reviewed automatically by artificial intelligence before gaining any distribution, and then human-reviewed and moderated before it can be viewed by more than 25 people. This is done to ensure that we reduce the risk of spreading misinformation, hate speech, or other potentially harmful content.

We don’t always get it right the first time, which is why we redesign parts of Snapchat when they aren’t living up to our values. That’s what happened in 2017 when we discovered that one of our products, Stories, was making Snapchatters feel like they had to compete with celebrities and influencers for attention because content from celebrities and friends were combined in the same user interface. As a result of that observation, we decided to separate “social” content created by friends from “media'' content created by celebrities to help reduce social comparison on our platform. This redesign negatively impacted our user growth in the short-term, but it was the right thing to do for our community.

Protecting Young People on Snapchat

Our mission — to empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together — informed Snapchat’s fundamental architecture. Adhering to this mission has enabled us to create a platform that reflects human nature and fosters real friendships. It continues to influence our design processes and principles, our policies and practices, and the resources and tools we provide to our community. And it undergirds our constant efforts to improve how we address the inherent risks and challenges associated with serving a large online community. 

A huge part of living up to our mission has been building and maintaining trust with our community and partners, as well as parents, lawmakers, and safety experts. Those relationships have been built through the deliberate, consistent decisions we have made to put privacy and safety at the heart of our product design process. 

For example, we have adopted responsible design principles that consider the privacy and safety of new products and features right from the beginning of the development process. And we've made those principles come to life through rigorous processes. Every new feature in Snapchat goes through a defined privacy and safety review, conducted by teams that span Snap — including designers, data scientists, engineers, product managers, product counsel, policy leads, and privacy engineers — long before it sees the light of day.

While more than 80% of our community in the United States is 18 or older, we have spent a tremendous amount of time and resources to protect teenagers. We’ve made thoughtful and intentional choices to apply additional privacy and safety policies and design principles to help keep teenagers safe. That includes:

  • Taking into account the unique sensitivities and considerations of minors when we design products. That’s why we intentionally make it harder for strangers to find minors by banning public profiles for people under 18 and are rolling out a feature to limit the discoverability of minors in Quick Add (friend suggestions). And why we have long deployed age-gating tools to prevent minors from viewing age-regulated content and ads. 

  • Empowering Snapchatters by providing consistent and easy-to-use controls like turning location sharing off by default and offering streamlined in-app reporting for users to report concerning content or behaviors to our Trust and Safety teams. Once reported, most content is actioned in under 2 hours to minimize the potential for harm. 

  • Working to develop tools that will give parents more oversight without sacrificing privacy — including plans to provide parents the ability to view their teen's friends, manage their privacy and location settings, and see who they're talking to.

  • Investing in educational programs and initiatives that support the safety and mental health of our community — like Friend Check Up and Here for You. Friend Check Up prompts Snapchatters to review who they are friends with and make sure the list is made up of people they know and still want to be connected with. Here for You provides support to users who may be experiencing mental health or emotional crises by providing tools and resources from experts.

  • Preventing underage use. We make no effort — and have no plans — to market to children, and individuals under the age of 13 are not permitted to create Snapchat accounts. When registering for an account, individuals are required to provide their date of birth, and the registration process fails if a user inputs an age under the age of 13. We have also implemented a new safeguard that prevents Snapchat users between 13-17 with existing accounts from updating their birthday to an age of 18 or above. Specifically, if a minor attempts to change their year of birth to an age over 18, we will prevent the change as a way to ensure that users are not accessing age-inappropriate content within Snapchat.

Conclusion and Looking Ahead

We're always striving for new ways to keep our community safe, and we have more work left to do. We know that online safety is a shared responsibility, spanning a host of sectors and actors. We are committed to doing our part in concert with safety partners including our Safety Advisory Board, technology industry peers, government, and civil society. From technology-focused and awareness-raising initiatives, to research and best practice sharing, we are actively engaged with organizations dedicated to protecting minors online. We also know that there are many complex problems and technical challenges across our industry, including age verification of minors, and we remain committed to working with partners and policymakers to identify robust industry-wide solutions.         

Protecting the wellbeing of Snapchatters is something we approach with both humility and steadfast determination. Over 500 million people around the world use Snapchat every month and while 95% of our users say Snapchat makes them feel happy, we have a moral responsibility to take into account their best interests in everything we do. That’s especially true as we innovate with augmented reality — which has the potential to positively contribute to the way we work, shop, learn, and communicate. We will apply those same founding values and principles as we continue to experiment with new technologies like the next generation of augmented reality. 

As we look to the future, computing and technology will become increasingly integrated into our daily lives. We believe that regulation is necessary but given the speed at which technology develops and the rate at which regulation can be implemented, regulation alone can’t get the job done. Technology companies must take responsibility and actively protect the communities they serve. 

If they don't, the government must act swiftly to hold them accountable. We fully support the Subcommittee’s efforts to investigate these issues and welcome a collaborative approach to problem solving that keeps our society safe. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today and discuss these critical issues. I look forward to answering your questions.

How Snap is Responding to the Fentanyl Crisis

Updated Heads Up

Drugs laced with fentanyl have contributed to an alarming increase in overdose deaths in the United States in recent years. Fentanyl is a potent opioid, deadly in quantities as small as one grain of sand. Drug dealers often use fentanyl to make counterfeit prescription pills, like Vicodin or Xanax, which when ingested can lead to death. 

We have heard devastating stories from families impacted by this crisis, including cases where fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills were purchased from drug dealers on Snapchat. We are determined to remove illegal drug sales from our platform, and we have been investing in proactive detection and collaboration with law enforcement to hold drug dealers accountable for the harm they are causing our community. 

We believe it is our responsibility to keep our community safe on Snapchat and we have made significant operational improvements over the past year to eradicate drug sales from our platform and we are continually working to improve. Our work here is never done, but we want to communicate updates as we make progress so that our community can monitor our progress and hold us accountable.

Our most important investments over the past year have included significant investments in our Law Enforcement Operations, growing our team who supports valid law enforcement requests to meaningfully improve how quickly we can respond. While we still have work to do, across all types of law enforcement requests we receive, our response times have improved 85% year over year, and in the case of emergency disclosure requests, our 24/7 team usually responds within 30 mins.

We have significantly improved our proactive detection capabilities to remove drug dealers from our platform before they are able to harm our community. Our enforcement rates have increased by 112% during the first half of 2021, and we have increased proactive detection rates by 260%. Nearly two-thirds of drug-related content is detected proactively by our artificial intelligence systems, with the balance reported by our community and enforced by our team. We’ve also worked to improve our in-app reporting tools to make it easier and faster for our community to report drug-related content.

We will continue to work to strike the right balance between safety and privacy on our platform so that we can empower our community to express themselves without fear of harm. By design, Snapchatters control who can contact them and must opt-in to new conversations with friends. If a member of our community reports inappropriate content, it is escalated to our Trust & Safety team so that we are able to take appropriate action. We are also working on new family safety tools to provide more ways for parents to partner together with their teenagers to stay safe on Snapchat.

We also want to play a role in educating our community about the dangers of fentanyl. To inform our efforts, we commissioned research from Morning Consult to understand how young people perceive prescription drugs and fentanyl, and are sharing those findings here. We learned that teenagers are suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety, and are experimenting with the use of prescription drugs without a prescription as a coping strategy. It was also clear from the research that many people either don’t know enough about fentanyl to assess the danger, or believe fentanyl is less dangerous than heroin or cocaine. This lack of awareness can have devastating consequences when just one counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl can kill.

Heads Up Graphic

We have developed a new in-app education portal called Heads Up that distributes content from expert organizations such as Song for Charlie, Shatterproof, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), with additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be added in the coming weeks. This means that if someone on Snapchat searches for drug-related keywords, Heads Up will show relevant educational content designed to prevent harm to our community.

In partnership with Song for Charlie, we have developed a video advertising campaign that has already been viewed over 260 million times on Snapchat, and we are rolling out a new national filter that raises awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit pills and directs Snapchatters to the new Heads Up educational portal. A new episode of Good Luck America, a Snap Original news show, will premiere soon, continuing a special edition series of episodes devoted to educating our community about the fentanyl crisis.

We hope that our ongoing operational improvements and educational efforts will help to keep our community safe from the devastating impacts of the fentanyl crisis. We are heartbroken that drugs have taken the lives of people in our community. We deeply appreciate the generosity and kindness of families who have come forward to share their stories, collaborate, and hold us accountable for making progress. We will work tirelessly to do better and do more to keep our community safe.

- Team Snap

Our Approach to Preventing the Spread of False Information

As the world continues to battle the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure the public has access to accurate, credible information. The rapid spread of false information can pose serious threats to our institutions and public health, and we believe we’re in a moment in which companies, organizations, and individuals should take stock of their efforts to help prevent it.

In that spirit, we thought it would be helpful to walk through our long held approach to preventing the spread of false information on Snapchat, and the ways we are working to improve. 

Our approach has always started with the architecture of our platform. Snapchat was originally built to help people talk to their close friends, rather than provide the opportunity to broadcast messages across the app. And we have always felt a deep responsibility to make sure that the news and information our community sees on Snapchat is credible, from trusted and clear sources. 

These underlying principles have informed our product design and policy decisions as Snapchat has continued to evolve over the years. 

  • Across our app, we don’t allow unvetted content the opportunity to ‘go viral.’ Snapchat does not offer an unmoderated open newsfeed where unvetted individuals or publishers can broadcast false information. Our content platform, Discover, only features content from vetted media publishers and content creators. Our entertainment platform, Spotlight, is proactively moderated before content can reach a large audience. We offer Group Chats, but they are limited in size, are not recommended by algorithms, and are not discoverable on our platform if you are not a member of that Group.

  • Our guidelines have long prohibited the spread of false information. Both our Community Guidelines, which apply equally to all Snapchatters, and our content guidelines, which apply to our Discover partners, prohibit the spread of misinformation that can cause harm, including conspiracy theories, denying the existence of tragic events, unsubstantiated medical claims, or undermining the integrity of civic processes.  We regularly review and update our policies as new forms of misinformation become more prevalent: for example, ahead of the 2020 election, we updated our guidelines to make clear that manipulated media intended to mislead -- or deepfakes -- were prohibited.

  • Our approach to enforcing against content that includes false information is straightforward -- we don’t label it, we completely remove it. When we find content that violates our guidelines, our policy is to simply take it down, which immediately reduces the risk of it being shared more widely. 

  • We evaluate the safety and privacy impacts of all new features during the front end of the product development process -- which includes examining potential vectors for misuse. We have internal measures in place to evaluate the potential impact of a new feature on the safety, privacy, and wellbeing of both Snapchatters, our individual users and society during the product development process -- and if we think it will become an avenue for bad actors to share false information, it doesn’t get released.

  • We use human review to fact check all political and advocacy ads. As with all content on Snapchat, we prohibit false information and deceptive practices in our advertising. All political ads, including election-related ads, issue advocacy ads, and issue ads, must include a transparent “paid for” message that discloses the sponsoring organization. We use human review to fact check all political ads, and provide information about all ads that pass our review in our Political Ads library.

  • We are committed to increasing transparency into our efforts to combat false information. Our most recent Transparency Report, which covered the second half of 2020, included several new elements, including data about our efforts to enforce against false information globally. During this period, we took action against 5,841 pieces of content and accounts for violations of our policies on false information -- and we plan to provide more detailed breakdowns of these violations in our future reports. 

As we keep working to remove incentives for sharing false information, both through our product design choices and our policies, we’re also focused on partnering with experts to promote factual health and safety information. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked closely with public health officials and agencies, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to publish regular safety updates, and our news partners around the world have produced constant coverage of the pandemic. Earlier this Spring, as vaccines became available for young people in the US, we launched a new effort with the White House to help Snapchatters answer common questions, and in July, we teamed up with the UK’s National Health Service on a similar effort. 

Doing our part to help our community stay safe and healthy is an ongoing priority for us, and we will continue to explore innovative approaches to reach Snapchatters where they are, while strengthening our efforts to protect Snapchat from the false information epidemic. 

Educating Snapchatters on the Dangers of Fentanyl

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new data showing that drug overdose deaths in the U.S have soared to record levels -- increasing more than 30% in 2020 and finding that this spike was driven by the prevalence of fentanyl, a lethal substance, and compounded by stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Song for Charlie, a national organization focused on educating young people about the dangers of fentanyl, many of these deaths occur from taking a single pill disguised as a legitimate prescription medication, but actually was counterfeit -- containing fentanyl. And young people, who often experiment with prescription pills such as Xanax and Percocet, are especially vulnerable.

We first began working with Song for Charlie earlier this year to better understand the fentanyl epidemic and identify ways we and other tech companies can help make a difference. Today they are launching a new nationwide public awareness campaign to reach young people where they are -- on tech platforms -- and educate them about the hidden dangers of these fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl.  We are grateful to partner with Song for Charlie to help inform our Snapchat community on how to protect themselves and their loved ones. 

As part of this effort, our in-house news show, Good Luck America, dedicated a special episode to the fentanyl epidemic featuring an interview with Song for Charlie Founder, Ed Ternan, who tragically lost his 22-year old son Charlie after taking a fake prescription pill. You can watch the full episode below, or on our Discover content platform.  

In addition, Snapchatters can now watch PSAs produced by Song for Charlie on our Discover platform and use a new Augmented Reality (AR) lens that features key facts on the dangers of fentanyl. The lens also links to more information to help educate and inform their closest friends and encourages people to take the “No Random Pills” pledge. This initial launch is the first in a sustained partnership between Song for Charlie and Snap, which will include additional in-app education and public awareness initiatives. 

As we work to raise awareness, we also are working to strengthen our efforts to better prevent, detect and combat drug-related activity on Snapchat. Our guidelines prohibit the sale or promotion of illegal drugs, and when we proactively detect this type of content or it is reported to us, our Trust and Safety teams take quick action. 

We block drug-related terms, including slang, from usernames or being searchable on Snapchat, and regularly audit these block lists with the latest language, working closely with third-party experts. We are also constantly updating our machine learning tools for proactively identifying images, words, emojis and other likely indicators of drug-related accounts, along with other capabilities for finding and stopping drug transactions. 

We are committed to continuing to do our part to help our community protect themselves and their friends, while we keep improving our capabilities for fighting drug dealers and drug-related content online.

Doing our Part to Tackle Online Hate

We are saddened and appalled by the racist abuse that has been directed at England footballers on several online platforms following the Euro 2020 final. We wanted to give an overview of our ongoing work to combat racism, hate speech, harassment and abuse on Snapchat, as well as the steps we are taking to educate our community.

We have put a lot of work into designing a platform that prevents the opportunity for hate speech or abuse to spread. Snapchat is designed differently than traditional social media. The app is designed around the camera to create a way for people to communicate more meaningfully and authentically, and with their real friends and loved ones, rather than people that they don’t know. 

Snapchat does not offer an open news feed where unvetted publishers or individuals have an opportunity to broadcast hate or abusive content. Our Discover platform  for news and entertainment, and our Spotlight platform  for the community’s best Snaps, are curated and moderated environments. This means that content in Discover or Spotlight is provided either by our professional media partners, who agree to abide by strict Content Guidelines, or is user-generated content that is pre-moderated using human review, prior to being surfaced to large groups of Snapchatters. And Snapchat does not enable public comments which can facilitate abuse.

We have also made clear that we will not promote accounts that are linked to people who incite racism, whether they do so on or off our platform, most notably when first taking the decision to stop promoting President Trump’s account on Discover in June of 2020.

These guardrails help keep activity that violates our policies  from public areas of our platform. In 2018, Snap signed onto the European Commission’s Code of Conduct on hate speech, which, as part of its oversight process, collects reports from 39 NGOs specializing in reporting online hate. In the Commission’s two most recent reports on compliance with the code, there were zero reports of hate speech on Snapchat. Our own transparency report shows that, for the UK during the latest six month reporting period, we took action against 6,734 accounts. The vast majority of this content concerned reported private Snaps, not on public content areas -- reducing any wider impact. 

We also work hard to combat illegal and harmful activity on the private communications side of Snapchat. We provide easy-to-use in-app reporting tools where Snapchatters can notify us about any illegal or harmful activity. Our global, 24/7 Trust & Safety team reviews reports and takes appropriate action against violating accounts. The team is trained to identify a variety of signals when it comes to racist language, including the use of emojis to represent racial slurs or stereotypes. We keep abreast of the use of emojis and other forms of expression such as text based captions to understand emerging trends that reflect potential abuse, and use this insight to constantly evolve our policies in this area.

There is of course more that we can do, including to educate our community, and we are currently working on a programme to elevate black British stories through the power of augmented reality. Our first initiative earlier this year was an augmented reality (AR) experience designed in partnership with Kick It Out and a collective of black creatives called Kugali to commemorate four of England's greatest black footballers.

Ultimately, there is no place on Snapchat for discrimination, racism or abuse. We will keep working hard to prevent this content from surfacing, and to take quick and effective action when it does occur.

-Henry Turnbull, Head of Public Policy UK & Nordics

Supporting the UK Government with its national vaccination drive

UK

It’s great to share our work with the United Kingdom (UK) government to support the UK National Health Service’s (NHS) ‘Every Vaccination Gives Us Hope’ campaign.  

Snapchat reaches over 90% of 13 to 24 year olds in the UK, and with our community playing such a key part of the lives of young people, it’s vital that it is a source of accurate and trusted resources so they can stay safe, healthy and informed. 

As the COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all adults over the age of 18 in the UK, it’s important for Snapchatters to have access to trusted and accurate information  With that in mind, we have expanded ‘Here For You’ - our in-app mental health and wellbeing resource - dedicated to the latest Coronavirus guidance to include expert resources from the NHS about the vaccine.

In addition, we have launched creative tools in collaboration with the UK Government - including stickers, lenses and filters - available for Snapchatters to use that allow them to share the latest guidance from the NHS and encourage Snapchatters to share their vaccine status with friends and family.

Finally, from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Snap Star account, Snapchatters submitted questions to be answered by medical experts Dr. Kiren Collison, the interim Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care for NHS England and Dr. Karen Raj, a doctor with the NHS. The Q&A sessions are available to watch on the Prime Minister’s profile.

We continue to explore new ways we can collaborate with credible partners to help support the health and wellbeing of our Snapchat community.

To learn more about the vaccine in the U.K, please visit: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine 

- Stephen Collins, Sr. Director of Public Policy

Snaps nyeste åpenhetsrapport

Snap Transparency

Formålet til Snap er å designe produkter og bygge teknologi som gir næring til og støtter ekte vennskap i et sunt, trygt og morsomt miljø. Vi jobber stadig for å forbedre måtene vi gjør det på, fra våre rentingslinjer og samfunnsretningslinjer, til våre verktøy for å forebygge, oppdage, og håndheve skadelig innhold, samt tiltak som utdanner og styrker vårt samfunn.

Vi er forpliktet til å gi mer åpenhet om forekomsten av innhold som bryter retningslinjene våre, hvordan vi håndhever retningslinjene våre, hvordan vi svarer på rettshåndhevelse og offentlige forespørsler om informasjon, og hvor vi ser hen for å gi mer innsyn senere. Vi publiserer åpenhetsrapporter to ganger i året for å gi innsikt i disse innsatsene, og er også forpliktet til å gjøre disse rapportene mer omfattende og nyttig for de mange interessentene som bryr seg dypt om nettsikkerhet og åpenhet.

I dag lanserer vi vår åpenhetsrapport for andre halvdel av 2020, som dekker perioden 1. juli til 31. desember det året, som du kan lese i sin helhet her. Som med våre tidligere rapporter, deler den data om brudd globalt under denne perioden; antall innholdsrapporter vi har mottatt og håndhevet mot tvers av bestemte kategorier for brudd; hvordan vi svarer på forespørsler fra rettshåndhevelse og myndigheter; og våre håndhevelser brutt ned etter land.

Som en del av våre pågående forsøk på å forbedre våre åpenhetstiltak, inkluderer denne rapporten også flere nye elementer. For første gang deler vi vår Violative View Rate (VVR) som er andelen av alle Snap (eller visninger) som inneholder innhold som brøt retningslinjene våre. I denne perioden var vår VVR på 0,08 prosent, som betyr at hver 10 000 visning av innhold på Snap, inneholdte åtte av dem innhold som brøt med våre retningslinjer. Hver dag opprettes det mer enn fem milliarder Snap ved bruk av vår Snapchat-kamera. I andre halvdel av 2020 håndhevet vi mot 5 543 281 stykker innhold globalt som brøt med våre retningslinjer.

I tillegg deler vår rapport nye innsikt om vår håndhevelse mot falsk informasjon globalt - en innsats som var spesielt viktig når verden fortsatte sin kamp mot en global pandemi, og forsøk på å undergrave demokratiske institusjoner. I denne tidsrammen tok vi handling mot 5 841 stykker innhold og kontoer for brudd på retningslinjer som forhindrer spredning av feilinformasjon og konspirasjonsteorier som kan forårsake skade.

Vi har alltid trodd at når det gjelder skadelig innhold er det ikke nok å bare tenke på retningslinjer og håndheving, plattformer må tenke på sine grunnleggende arkitektur og produktdesign. På tvers av appen vår begrenser Snapchat viralitet som fjerner motiver for skadelig og sensasjonelt innhold, og muligheter til å organisere. Vår rapport deler flere detaljer om våre valg av produktdesign, og vårt arbeid for å fremme faktanyheter og informasjon til Snapchattere.

Fremover fokuserer vi på å gi større innsikt i fremtidige rapporter, for eksempel å utvide underkategorier for brudd på data. Vi evaluerer konstant hvordan vi kan styrke våre omfattende forsøk på å bekjempe skadelig innhold og dårlige aktører, og er takknemlige for de mange sikkerhetspartnerne som alltid hjelper oss med å forbedre oss.

Celebrating the 26th Amendment by Helping 18 Year Olds Register to Vote

26th Amendment Graphic

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment -- the amendment that gave 18-year-olds the right to vote in all US elections and outlawed age discrimination among eligible voters. 

At Snap, we believe that one of the most powerful forms of self-expression is exercising the right to vote and participating in our democracy. Snapchat reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds in the United States, giving us an incredible opportunity to provide our youngest voters with tools that make it easier to participate in our democracy. 

Since 2016, we’ve invested in native to mobile civic products and partnerships designed to tackle challenges to voter registration, education, and participation to help make voting easier. We’ve learned that supporting the next generation of leaders needs to be a year-round effort - not just for high-profile election seasons.

That’s why in 2018, we launched a feature that automatically prompts Snapchatters on their 18th birthday to register to vote. Each month an average of 400,000 Snapchatters in the United States receive a notification to register to vote as they celebrate their birthday.

As part of a research collaboration with Tufts’ University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), Snap found that college campuses are significant entry points for first-time voters, but only 36% of 18 to 23-year-olds are enrolled in college full time, which means nearly two-thirds don’t have the same civic and political engagement opportunities. Given our unique reach among young Americans, Snap is able to help bridge the gap in access to civic resources. 

Registering voters on their 18th birthday is just one step towards empowering Snapchatters to be lifelong civic participants and make their voices heard. 

Before the 2020 US election, we launched a collection of mobile-first tools with support from TurboVote and BallotReady to help Snapchatters register to vote, understand their ballot, request absentee ballots and make a plan to vote by-mail or in-person, learn about voter protection resources like the Election Protection hotline, and help their friends vote by sharing Snaps with educational filters and lenses.

We continue to work to inspire the next generation of Americans to engage in a lifetime of self-expression through civic engagement year-round - and do our part to help deliver on the promise of the 26th Amendment.

- Sofia Gross, Head of Policy Partnerships and Social Impact

Providing More Ad Choices and Controls for Our Community

Blog Asset

Snapchat is a space for self-expression, discovery, and exploration. Advertising is one of the ways we keep Snapchat open and accessible through curated high-quality content, product innovation, and dedicated community safety moderation. We want to deliver the best experience for our community, and we want the ads we show to be fun, interesting, and relevant to Snapchatters! 

To enable this, we are excited to share some in-app features and educational resources that give Snapchatters even more control over their advertising and data use preferences.

Ad Preferences

To help Snapchat deliver the most relevant, useful ads to Snapchatters, we let advertisers and other partners show Snapchatters ads in the service they are using based on information collected on other websites and services. If they prefer not to have ads shown to them based on this information, Snapchatters can easily adjust their Ad Preferences in App Settings. To learn more about the different Ad Preferences take a look here.

Ad Topic Choices 

If a Snapchatter doesn’t feel comfortable seeing ads from a particular advertising topic, we make it easy for them to let us know. We now offer the ability to opt out of sensitive ad topics like alcohol and political advertising, and will soon support this functionality for gambling ads too. 

Report Ad 

When a Snapchatter sees an ad, they may want to report something about it when they view it. Snapchatters can easily report if they like or dislike the content, or if they find it fraudulent or concerning. Our dedicated team at Snap is on the clock and takes action on reports that violate our policies! 

Hide Ad 

For individual ads that Snapchatters find irrelevant, inappropriate, or simply annoying, they can now easily Hide Ads from appearing for them in the future.

Report Ad / Hide Ad

Snapchatters can Report or Hide Ads easily

Educational Resources About App Tracking Transparency

As a part of our Safety Snapshot digital literacy content series, we’ve provided our community with a new Discover episode to help Snapchatters understand Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT). ATT is a new privacy framework designed to provide consumers with the ability to select how they want their personal data handled by apps through an in-app prompt. The educational episode outlines the fundamentals of how the prompt works, how to make their desired data use selection, and the impact their selection has on their ad experience on Snapchat. 

What’s next?

We will continue to prioritize privacy and choice for the Snapchat community through easy and transparent advertising preferences, and pertinent resources on safety and privacy topics. The tools and resources above represent just some of our many efforts and innovations to keep our community safe and informed. We hope these and future updates will drive awareness about the advertising and data use choices our community can make, and to encourage Snapchatters to make the choices they feel are best.

Asked & Answered: The White House Answers Snapchatters COVID-19 Questions 

White House Covid 2

Today, we are launching a new effort with The White House to help Snapchatters answer common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Through this partnered Lens, Snapchatters can hear directly from President Biden, Vice President Harris, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett about the questions that matter most, like “Why should I get vaccinated?” and “Will the vaccine protect me against variants?” 

Snapchat reaches 90% of 13 to 23 year olds in the United States and throughout each phase of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve provided Snapchatters with accurate and trusted resources to stay safe, healthy, and informed. We’ve done that through a variety of new initiatives like launching an in-app mental health resource, Here for You, partnering with the Ad Council on in-app awareness campaigns, and prioritizing verified organizations on our Discover platform, including the White House COVID-19 Taskforce and World Health Organization.

From our earliest days, we designed Snapchat differently to prevent unvetted content from being able to go viral. Our Community Guidelines strictly prohibit the promotion of false information and conspiracy theories and our Discover section offers news, information, and facts from credible publishers and partners—like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization. 

As we enter this next phase of the COVID-19 recovery, we continue to explore new ways we can collaborate with credible and trusted partners to help support the health and wellbeing of our Snapchat community. To learn more about our ongoing efforts, visit: snap.com/en-US/safety-and-impact.

- Sofia Gross, Head of Policy Partnerships and Social Impact