Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has claimed that his social media platform “makes people happy,” and made sure to take a jab at the company’s rivals while they’re down in a leaked memo he sent to employees on Jan. 8.
“We’re certainly far from perfect, but while our competitors are connecting pedophiles, fueling insurrection, and recommending terrorist propaganda, we know that Snapchat makes people happy,” said Spiegel in the memo.
Meta has recently come under fire for allegedly failing to tackle the spread of pedophiliac posts and accounts on its platforms, and it is also facing a lawsuit from over 40 states that alleges that the company has failed to protect children on its platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Social media platform X (formerly Twitter) has also been in the midst of bad press as the platform is facing an exodus of advertisers after its owner, Elon Musk, supported an antisemitic post on the platform.
Spiegel also claimed in the memo that Snapchat is “an antidote to the online popularity contest” that has been present on Myspace, Facebook and Instagram.
“At a time when more people are feeling lonely, suffering from constant judgment online, and exposed to harmful content, snapchat offers something different: a way to enhance relationships with your real friends,” he wrote.
An image of notifications and streaks on Snapchat.
Snapchat has faced its own challenges tackling child exploitation in recent years. Last year, law enforcement and government officials in Canada claimed that since 2020, they have seen an increase in reports of child predators using social media platforms such as Snapchat to exploit children.
“With Snapchat, there’s a false sense of security that information or pictures are being deleted and that there’s no evidence of communication that’s occurring between two people on that platform,” said Catherine Tabak, a manager at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, while speaking to CBC last January.
Also, in 2023, Spiegel was revealed to be one of the CEOs of several other popular social media platforms that has been subpoenaed to testify in a Senate Judiciary hearing, set for Jan. 31, 2024, to explain his platform’s “failure to protect kids.”
“We’ve known from the beginning that our efforts to protect children online would be met with hesitation from Big Tech,” said U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham in a press release. “They finally are being forced to acknowledge their failures when it comes to protecting kids.”
Amid an increase in pressure from parents and lawmakers pushing for social media platforms to ramp up their safety measures, Snapchat rolled out new features in September last year aimed at protecting teenage users.
Some of the efforts include a revamped system on removing inappropriate content, restricting friend suggestions and adding new guidance for parents via YouTube and on its website on its parental control policies and features.
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