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Some Snap Kit platform developers have skirted guidelines meant to make the app safer for children.
A new report from TechCrunch released Tuesday found that some third-party apps that connect to users’ Snap accounts have not been updated according to new guidelines announced in March. The restrictions, which target anonymous messaging and friend-finding apps, are meant to increase child safety. However, the investigation found a number of apps either ignore the new regulations or falsely claim to be integrated with Snapchat.
The Santa Monica-based social media company announced the changes after facing two separate lawsuits related to teen suicide allegedly caused by the app. Over 1,500 developers integrate Snap features like the camera and Bitmojis. Snap originally claimed the update would not affect many apps.
Developers had 30 days to revise their software, but the investigation found that some apps, such as the anonymous Q&A app Sendit, were granted an extension. Others blatantly avoided the changes—the anonymous messaging app HMU, which is now meant for adult users, is still available to users "9+" in the App Store. Certain apps that have been banned from Snap, like Intext, still advertise Snapchat integration.
“First and foremost, we put the privacy and safety of our community first and expect the products built by our developer community to adhere to that standard in addition to bringing fun and positive experiences to people,” Director of Platform Partnerships Alston Cheek told TechCrunch.
The news is a blow to Snap’s recent efforts to cast itself as a responsible social media platform The company recently announced Colleen DeCourcy would take over as the company’s new chief creative officer and CEO Evan Spiegel to recently made a a generous personal donation to graduates of Otis College of Art and Design. The social media company currently faces a lawsuit from a teenager who claims it has not done enough to protect minors from sexual exploitation. In April, 44 attorney generals sent a letter to Snap and TikTok urging the companies to strengthen parental controls.
Lawmakers are considering new policies that would hold social media companies accountable for the content on their platforms. One such bill would require social media companies to share data with independent researchers.
Snap Inc., Snapchat's parent company, is an investor in dot.LA.
Two groups representing social media giants are trying to block a Texas law protecting users’ political social media content.
NetChoice—whose members include the Culver City-based video-sharing app TikTok—and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court, the Washington Post reported Friday. HB 20, which went into effect Wednesday, allows residents who believe they were unfairly censored to sue social media companies with over 50 million U.S. users. Tech companies would also have to integrate a system for users to oppose potential content removal.
The law, which was initially signed by Governor Greg Abbott in September, was previously barred by a federal district judge but was lifted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. NetChoice and CCIA claim the law violates the First Amendment and seek to vacate it by filing the application with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
“[The law] strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content,” NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese said in a statement.
The two lobbying groups also represent Facebook, Google and Twitter. The latter is undergoing its own censorship conundrum, as Elon Musk has made it a central talking point in his planned takeover.
Tech companies and policymakers have long clashed on social media censorship—a similar law was blocked in Florida last year, though Governor Ron DeSantis still hopes it will help in his fight against Disney. In the wake of the 2021 insurrection in the capital, Democratic lawmakers urged social media companies to change their platforms to prevent fringe political beliefs from gaining traction.
Conservative social media accounts like Libs of TikTok have still managed to gain large followings, and a number of right-wing platforms have grown from the belief that such sentiments lead to censorship.
Having citizens enforce new laws seems to be Texas’ latest political strategy. A 2021 state law allows anyone to sue clinics and doctors who help people get an abortion, allowing the state to restrict behavior while dodging responsibility.
Social media giant Snap has hired Colleen DeCourcy as chief creative officer, tapping an advertising veteran who spent nearly a decade at Wieden+Kennedy, one the world’s largest independent ad agencies.
DeCourcy, who was co-president and chief creative officer at the Portland, Oregon-based ad agency, joined Snap a few months ago and will lead the company’s global creative efforts, according to a Snap spokesperson. She will work to boost Snap’s brand and report to Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Mitchell.
Colleen DeCourcy, Snap CCO
Photo provided by Snap.
“At Snap I’ve met a thoughtful group of people with values and a mission that can make a difference. That’s 100% why I’m doing this,” DeCourcy said in a statement to dot.LA. “What I didn’t expect is how much fun it would be to take my advertising brain and do something completely different with it.”
At Wieden+Kennedy, DeCourcy oversaw Nike’s Emmy-winning “Dream Crazy” campaign that featured Colin Kapernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem of NFL games. DeCourcy, who said she was retiring from advertising in December, also produced work for major brands such as McDonald’s, Ford, Visa and Airbnb.
DeCourcy recently helped Snap build its first Oscars commercial spot that was inspired by this year’s winner for Best Picture, “CODA,” which tells the story of the only hearing member of a deaf family. The ad highlighted how Snapchat users can learn American Sign Language using hand-tracking tech.
“We are so honored to have Colleen join our team at Snap,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Her exceptional strategic and creative leadership makes her the perfect person to help transform the way we bring the Snap brand to life around the world.”
Snap has been on a leadership hiring spree over the last year, adding Jacqueline Beauchere from Microsoft as to be global head of platform safety; Anne Laurenson from Google as managing director of global carrier partnerships; Rajni Jacques from Allure as global head of fashion & beauty partnerships; and Konstantinos ‘KP’ Papmilitiadis from Facebook to be vice president of platform Partnerships.