Snapchat announces expanded screening for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)

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ParentsTogether says: Snapchat’s announcement following 100k Parent Petition is commendable, and critical to keeping kids safe.

Snapchat has announced a formal commitment to expanding its monitoring program designed to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation to include finding and reporting abusive videos on the platform. Snapchat already searches for and reports known CSAM photos. The massively popular platform is used by 92 percent of social media users ages 12-17 and receives 1.4 billion video views everyday. According to Snapchat, the video and photo sharing platform will begin screening for child sexual abuse on videos by the fall of 2020.

The announcement from Snapchat comes after more than 100,000 members of ParentsTogether, a parent-led organization, delivered a petition to Snapchat demanding that it do more to keep kids safe on its platform. The petition highlighted a 400 percent surge in reports of child sexual abuse photos and videos reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a nearly 500 percent increase in the number of hours kids have spent online since the COVID-19 lockdowns began.

“ParentsTogether is heartened by how seriously Snapchat takes these concerns and is encouraged by their commitment to implement technology to find and report videos of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) by Fall 2020,” said Amanda Kloer, Campaigns Director at Parents Together. “This type of detection and reporting is critical to keeping kids safe online, but sadly is not widespread across the tech industry. We strongly encourage all platforms that allow users to upload, share, or store images or videos to take these same steps to find and report all known CSAM.”

Last month, ParentsTogether conducted a survey of more than 3,000 parents that showed nearly half of respondents’ kids (48 percent) were spending more than six hours per day online – a nearly 500 percent increase from before the crisis.

ParentsTogether is a national, parent-led organization with over 2 million community members from coast to coast working together to build a world where every child and family can thrive. Our membership is socio-economically and racially diverse, and includes parents from every state.