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Snapchat creates tool to protect teenagers from sexual extortion

O Snapchat is working to make it more difficult for teens to be contacted by people they don’t know on the app, in an effort to combat the scam of sexual and financial exploitation known as “sextorsion” (from English, sexual extortion).

This Tuesday (25), the company announced new security features, including alerts that appear when a teenager receives a message from someone who is not among their mutual friends or contacts.

Now, young people will also receive a warning if they receive a chat from a blocked user, reported by others or from a different region than the teenager’s contacts, which could be signs that the person could be a scammer, as indicated in a blog post from Snapchat this Tuesday.

The social network will also prevent sending friend requests to teenagers from accounts without mutual friends and located in regions often associated with scammers.

In addition to expanding general safety measures for young people, these new features specifically aim to prevent financial sexual extortion. It is a worrying and growing type of social media scam where scammers gain the trust of young people, convince them to send sexual or explicit photos, and then demand payment to keep the photos secret.

“These features are designed to better protect teens from potential harm online and to strengthen the real friendship connections that make Snapchat so unique,” ​​said Jacqueline Beauchere, Snap’s global head of platform safety, in an exclusive statement to Snap. CNN before the announcement.

In recent years, law enforcement authorities have warned about the rise in online sexual extortion scams, in which scammers, often located abroad, target children and teenagers, often with profiles that appear to belong to other friendly teenagers. In some cases, extortion has resulted in suicides.

In April, Meta also announced new features to combat sexual extortion, including informing users when they interact with someone involved in similar cases. The CEOs of Meta and Snapchat, along with other social media leaders, were called to testify earlier this year at a U.S. Senate hearing about their efforts to protect young people from online exploitation.

Among Snapchat’s announcements this Tuesday are improvements to the app’s blocking tools, which will prevent users from simply creating new accounts to bypass a block. Now, when a user blocks another account, any new accounts created on the same device will also be automatically blocked.

Snapchat is also introducing more frequent reminders to all users, including teens, about their location settings in the app’s “Snap Map” function, which is turned off by default but which users can update to share their live location with friends. . The company said it will allow users to update their location settings, remove their location from the map, and customize which friends they share their location with. Everything in one place in the app.

The updates build on Snapchat’s existing teen safety features, which include a “Family Center” where parents can supervise the behavior of users ages 13 to 17, and mechanisms to remove age-inappropriate content.

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Source: CNN Brasil

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