October 22, 2021
In the wake of a Congressional inquiry regarding the safety of minors using online platforms, Snapchat is preparing to debut “family engagement” tools, according to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Speaking at WSJ Tech Live, Spiegel said the features will allow parents greater control as to how children use the service. Spiegel emphasized privacy as built-in to Snapchat, noting “we never market our service to people under the age of 13.” Keen to market to millennials and Gen Zers, Snap also announced this week it’s launching Arcadia, a global creative studio focused on developing augmented reality advertising and experiences for brands.
Arcadia will develop experiences for web platforms and app-based AR environments. The unit will be capable of assuming the entirety of a brand’s AR production or just advising and consulting on AR strategy, including through workshops and trend reporting.
“Arcadia delivers a compelling solution for brands and agencies who understand the immediate value of developing world-class AR experiences, rooted in craft, technology and customer experience,” Snapchat global head of creative strategy Jeff Miller said in a statement.
Speaking of the family engagement tools, Spiegel said, “We haven’t announced the name of this product yet, but we basically have a family center so that young people and their parents can use Snapchat together,” it was reported in TechCrunch, which said the product is expected to debut in the months ahead. The idea is to give parents access to data as to who their teens might be interacting with on Snapchat and their privacy settings, as well as other things.
According to TechCrunch, “These types of conversations can be a learning experience for both parents and teens alike and can give parents the opportunity to guide their teens through some of the difficulties that come with using social media — like how to navigate uncomfortable situations, such as what to do if a stranger contacts you, for example.”
A Snapchat spokesperson said the new family engagement tools will combine educational components with the parental control tools. Responsible for the parental controls unit is Jacqueline Beauchere, recently named Snapchat’s first ever global head of platform safety after joining from Microsoft where she was chief online safety officer.
Snap’s initiative comes as regulatory scrutiny of social media companies has intensified. “As U.S. lawmakers consider legislation that would require tech companies to implement new safeguards to better protect minors on their services, tech companies have been trying to get ahead of the coming crackdown by putting into place their own interpretations of those rules now,” TechCrunch reports.
TikTok, Instagram and Google are all touting new safety measures for children.