The company that owns Snapchat is working with British lawmakers on ways to stop underage users from signing up for the popular social media platform, a company executive said Tuesday.
Snap’s Stephen Collins told a committee of senior government officials that he had met Monday with a British working group trying to solve the issue and that the “most sustainable solution” was a central verification system.
Social media platforms are battling with governments to prove they can stop vulnerable users from being exposed to inappropriate content, with governments and educators warning about the harmful effect on teenagers and preteens.
Snapchat has a minimum age requirement of 13, and users are asked their date of birth when setting up an account. However, there is no system to verify users’ ages.
Senior policymaker Damian Collins said Snapchat’s “Streaks” feature, which rewards users who message their friends at least daily with in-app emojilike badges, could be stressful and addictive for younger users.
“It could create pressure on young people as it’s seen as a reflection of their friendship,” Damian Collins said.
Stephen Collins said the company would “revisit” the thinking behind Streaks.