Snapchat tackles in-app drug trafficking amid surge in teenage overdose deaths

New Delhi: To combat the drug threat on the platform, popular social media app Snapchat is working to roll out measures aimed at tackling the so-called “fentanyl epidemic” in the US, which is growing at an explosive rate Increase in drug use has led to deaths among US high school and college youth.

“Our position on this has always been clear: we have absolutely no tolerance for drug trafficking on Snapchat. We continue to develop new measures to protect our community on Snapchat and over the past year have made significant operational improvements to achieve our goal of eradicating drug dealers from our platform. Although Snapchat is just one of many communication platforms that drug dealers seek to abuse to proliferate illegal substances, we still have a unique opportunity to use our voice, technology and resources to take action against this scourge that threatens the lives of our community members,” the company said in a statement.

The Snap-owned company also mentioned that it recognizes the human toll the opioid epidemic is taking across the country, along with the effects of fentanyl and adulterated drugs, often disguised as counterfeit prescription drugs.

“Today we are expanding this work in several ways. First, we’ll welcome two new partners to our heads-up portal to bring essential in-app resources to Snapchatters: Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to creating safer, healthier, and drug-free communities communities, and Truth Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to achieving a culture where all young people reject smoking, vaping and nicotine,” Snapchat added.

In the coming days, the company will also be releasing the next episode of its fentanyl-focused special series, Good Luck America, which can be seen on Snapchat’s Discover content platform. In its fight against the drug threat, Snapchat has also increased its detection rates by 390 percent — a 50 percent increase since its last public update in October. Also, 88 percent of the drug-related content Snapchat discovers is now detected by its machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, and the rest is reported by the Snapchat community.

This is an increase of 33 percent since the company last updated. “When we find drug trafficking activity, we immediately suspend the account, use technology to prevent the offender from creating new accounts on Snapchat, and in some cases proactively refer the account to law enforcement for investigation,” the company noted.

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