Snapchat is developing new ways to secure its app after the influx of fentanyl and other illegal drugs was sold on its site.
New developments will be able to warn users of the dangers of buying and selling dangerous pills with the aim of ensuring the safety of users in the community.
“We have heard devastating stories from families affected by this crisis, including cases where counterfeit pills containing fentanyl were purchased from drug dealers on Snapchat,” the company said in a blog post.
Snapchat takes on the sale of Fentanyl on its platform.
The company said it was improving its automated detection systems that would notify them of ongoing drug sales through the app. In its blog post, Snapchat also said that its artificial intelligence proactively detects “nearly two-thirds” of drug-related content on the platform.
Snapchat has also hired more people to respond to law enforcement inquiries during criminal investigations, as well as the launch of an in-app education portal called Heads Up focused on the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit pills. .
Social media has quickly become a new market for drug dealers looking for buyers.
Since the onset of the pandemic and limited access to in-person events, many drug dealers have turned to social media apps to make money and sell their product.
Drug overdose deaths have increased dramatically since 2019. More than 93,000 people died from overdoses in 2020, while in 2019 the number was around 72,000.
Snapchat itself has been linked with the sale of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl that have killed teenagers and young adults in at least 15 states.
While resellers have found the effectiveness of selling their products on social media quite easy, they also don’t think there is a risk of getting caught.
The counterfeit pills sold are designed to look like legitimate prescription pills. However, 2 out of 5 counterfeit pills seized and tested in the United States contain enough fentanyl to kill.
Almost 48% of Snapchat users are between 15 and 25 years old. Snapchat also ranks as the largest social network for teens in the United States.
It seems like Snapchat almost has a duty to protect its young users from selling illegal drugs on their app.
Many parents of children who have been killed by deadly counterfeit pills are asking Snapchat to do more to remove drug dealers from the platform.
Can parents sue Snapchat for drug-related deaths?
There is a law that prohibits corporate liability. Section 230 is federal law that protects online publishers from liability for the content of their platforms, which means parents cannot sue Snapchat.
A parent, Dr Laura Berman, spoke of the death of her 16-year-old son in February 2021 from fentanyl poisoning he contracted after purchasing what he believed to be Oxycontin through Snapchat.
Although Snapchat has rolled out a new app and new awareness on its app, it is still easy for drug dealers who have been kicked off the platform to create a new account just using a different phone number.
More needs to be done on Snapchat to stop illegal sales of drugs containing fentanyl, especially when most victims don’t know what they are buying and are extremely young.
Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. It covers pop culture, social justice issues and hot topics. Follow her on Instagram.
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