Jul 8, 2019

GOP lawmaker: Snapchat videos "a child predator’s dream"

Marsha Blackburn. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is pushing Snap to "take action to prevent more children from being exposed to sexual predators and explicit adult content while using Snapchat" in a letter seen by Axios and due to be sent to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Monday.

Why it matters: Blackburn's complaint suggests that message services that offer users more privacy and make messages more fleeting — as Snap does now, and Facebook is promising — will not be immune to policymakers' scrutiny and regulatory efforts.


  • Blackburn's letter says that the messaging service's "disappearing videos are a child predator’s dream," citing cases in which predators allegedly used the application.
  • The letter also raises issues with Snap's map feature, which shows the locations of some users.
  • The lawmaker, who is one of several conservative critics of major tech companies, says in the letter than she is "concerned that Snapchat’s age ratings in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store fail to adequately warn parents and unsuspecting minors of the material they will encounter."

The big picture: Children's online privacy is one area of tech policy that members of both parties frequently agree on.

What they're saying: "Nothing is more important to us than the trust and safety of our community, and we take a zero tolerance approach around these issues," said a Snap spokesperson in a statement. "We’ve designed Snapchat with no browsable public profiles, and by default you can’t receive a message or share location with someone you haven't added as a friend on the app. We work hard to detect, prevent and stop any abuse on our platform, and continue to work proactively with governments, law enforcement and best in class safety organizations to ensure that Snapchat continues to be a positive and safe environment."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Snap.

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Snapchat snaps back

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Snapchat's parent company has had a bumpy ride through a series of product and corporate setbacks in 2018. But now it's slowly making a comeback.

Why it matters: Snap's story is yet another example of the harsh realities of going public and facing comparisons to expansive rivals—in this case, Facebook. Now that Snap is regaining momentum, investors' enthusiasm for the company's long-term potential is also creeping back.

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Snap hires Laura Nichols to lead comms for policy and content

Center for American Progress

Snap Inc. has hired Laura Nichols, formerly head of communications of National Geographic Partners, as vice president of communications, Axios has learned. Nichols will be based in Washington D.C. and will lead communications around Snap’s global policy, social impact, and its content arm, Discover.

Why it matters: It's the first time Snap is hiring someone to manage its policy communications in Washington D.C.  It's also the first key hire made by Snap's chief communications officer Julie Henderson since she joined the company in late 2018. 

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Snap stock price up after beating Q2 analyst expectations

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Snap's stock price shot up more than 6% on Tuesday after the company beat analyst expectations, posting $388.02 million in revenue.

By the numbers: The gains surprised investors, as the stock was expected to post at $359.56 million, and $0.06 loss per share (vs. a $0.10 expected loss). Snap also added 13 million new daily active users this quarter.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019