Favored mostly by children and teens, Snapchat is the subject of an investigation by NBC News reporters, showing that the social media platform creates a highly desirable environment for sellers of banned substances looking for customers. What’s more, the US reporters revealed that sellers of banned substances can be discovered by simple keyword searches or contacted for direct negotiation, and have no problem selling to buyers of any age.
According to the charges filed in the case against SNAP, the administrator of Snapchat, the search function and automated content recommendation algorithms make it easy to discover suppliers of addictive drugs and medications, making it relatively easy for teens over 14 to sell and buy drugs through the social network. As long as they are within delivery range of sellers, teens who frequent Snapchat can easily purchase powerful sedatives such as fentanyl, morphine and narcotics.
Following the scandal sparked by an internal-use study by Meta that showed how harmful Instagram is to teenagers’ mental health, the lawsuit against Snapchat’s administrator could have devastating effects on the company long criticized for failing to protect users.
Adding to the suspicions hanging over the platform, Snapchat recently introduced the Dissapearing Messages feature. While on the surface it only appears to mimic the functionality available on rival platforms such as Whatsapp, in the context of the illicit activities discovered on the platform the option only comes to erase the traces of suspicious transactions, further cementing Snapchat’s role