Snap bans anonymous messaging features from third-party apps that integrate with its platform due to concerns that they could be used for bullying and harassment. The change comes after a lawsuit last year seeking to hold Snap liable for misuse of its platform in connection with the death of a teen who was bullied on two Snapchat-connected apps. The third-party apps, Yolo and LMK, both had anonymous messaging features and were suspended by Snap shortly after the lawsuit was filed.
“While we know that most Snapchatters used these anonymous integrations in a fun, engaging, and completely appropriate way, we think some users may be more prone to harmful behavior — such as bullying or harassment — if they have the veil of anonymity,” says the company in a blog post.
Snap also says today that the search for friends or meetup apps in its developer program should be limited to people 18 and older to protect young users. The company says the change is “more consistent with Snapchat’s use case — communication between close friends who already know each other.”
Launched in 2018, Snap Kit allows third-party apps to integrate with Snapchat. Developers sign up to participate in the program and are subject to Snap’s security and privacy policies, which include prohibitions against bullying, harassment, hate speech, and that developers take action if abuse occurs. More than 1,500 developers are in Snap Kit; 2 percent will be affected by the anonymous messaging ban, and 3 percent will be affected by the age restriction of meetup apps.