How Snapchat Is Using AI And Machine Learning To Thwart Drug Deals
In a statement released on January 18th, parent company Snap addressed the issue. It stated, "Late last year, the CDC announced that more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US over a 12 month period—with fentanyl being a major driver of this spike." Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is one hundred times more potent than morphine.
Snap stated that it has a zero tolerance for drug dealing on Snapchat. It says it has made significant operational improvements over the past year toward its goal of completely eradicating drug dealers from its platform. It claims to take a holistic approach, which includes "deploying tools that proactively detect drug-related content, working with law enforcement to support their investigations, and provide in-app information and support to Snapchatters who search for drug-related terms through a new educational portal, Heads Up."
The social media company announced that it is adding two new partners to its Heads Up portal in order to provide important in-app resources to its users. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), is a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating safe, healthy and drug-free communities. Truth Initiative is the second addition, and is an organization that strives to steer teens and young adults away from smoking, vaping and nicotine in general. Along with these two new organizations being added, Snap will soon be releasing its next episode of it special Good Luck America series which will focus on fentanyl.
Snapchat is also updating its Quick Add suggestion feature in order to reduce interactions between kids and strangers. The company states, "In order to be discoverable in Quick Add by someone else, users under 18 will need to have a certain number of friends in common with that person." In the past, users would be given a list of recommended friends based on mutual connections, regardless if you knew the person in real life or not. Work is also being done on additional parental tools that it will roll out in the coming months.
Snapchat's Use Of AI And Machine Learning Proactively Detects 88% Of Drug Related Content
Since this past fall, parent company Snap reports it has seen a decline in community-reported content related to drug sales. The number of Snapchat user related reports fell from 23% in September of last year, to 16% as of this month. In total there were 31% less drug-related reports. Snap believes this shows its initiatives are working, but understand there is more work to be done.