Feb 9, 2021 - Technology

Snapchat urges users to remove unwanted connections

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Snapchat on Tuesday rolled out a new feature reminding its users — the vast majority of whom are under the age of 30 — to remove unwanted connections from their contact list.

Why it matters: While most social networks try to bait engagement by encouraging users to add as many new connections as possible, Snapchat wants to instead use this moment to remind users that “Snapchat is for real friends.”

Details: The new feature, called "Friend Check Up," prompts Snapchat users to look at their friend lists and make sure it consists wholly of people they want to be connected to, in an effort to remind users that the app is built for close connections.

  • "We have all come to realize both the importance of digital tools for staying connected to one another — especially during the pandemic — as well as some of the potential risks that these tools can create," a Snap spokesperson said.
  • "One source of risk on digital platforms are the connections that can be created — sometimes at the explicit urging of the platform — with people who we don’t know in real life and who may expose us to negative experiences, such as the spread of misinformation, harassment, or unwanted situations."

The big picture: The feature is being introduced alongside a series of new partnerships around "Safer Internet Day." Snapchat has been able to avoid most of the regulatory and industry headaches surrounding issues like safety, misinformation and privacy, in large part due to the way the app has been engineered and structured.

  • As Axios has previously noted, the app prioritizes private, individual conversations and does not include a public news feed. Most of Snapchat's features are set to private by default.
  • The company pioneered the idea of ephemerality among social platforms, having content automatically disappear 24 hours after being posted. Chat messages delete by default.

What's next: The Friends Check Up feature will start rolling out globally for Android devices in the coming weeks and for iOS devices in the coming months. 

Go deeper: Snapchat has been pushing to introduce more wellness and safety programs over the past year, including:

Go deeper