Snapchat says it will ramp up efforts to detect fentanyl sales on its platform

In acknowledging that its platform is being used to sell counterfeit drugs laced with the powerful synthetic opioid fentatnyl, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat said it's intensifying measures to detect in-app drug deals.

It said in a statement issued today:

We have significantly improved our proactive detection capabilities to remove drug dealers from our platform before they are able to harm our community. Our enforcement rates have increased by 112% during the first half of 2021, and we have increased proactive detection rates by 260%. Nearly two-thirds of drug-related content is detected proactively by our artificial intelligence systems, with the balance reported by our community and enforced by our team. We've also worked to improve our in-app reporting tools to make it easier and faster for our community to report drug-related content.

We will continue to work to strike the right balance between safety and privacy on our platform so that we can empower our community to express themselves without fear of harm. By design, Snapchatters control who can contact them and must opt-in to new conversations with friends. If a member of our community reports inappropriate content, it is escalated to our Trust & Safety team so that we are able to take appropriate action. We are also working on new family safety tools to provide more ways for parents to partner together with their teenagers to stay safe on Snapchat.

The Centers for Disease Control reported 93,000 drug overdose deaths in in 2020, up 30% from 2019. A recent report from Insider found "at least two dozen fentanyl-related deaths in which the dealer used Snapchat to sell the drug."