NBC has a great story that takes a look at the trend of young adults trying to buy prescription or recreational drugs from retailers on Snapchat – and end up with fentanyl instead. The report tells the story from the perspective of several parents who have lost children and who suspect that they purchased the pills using the popular chat app. He also explains how Snapchat is trying to solve the problem and the difficulties that come with this moderation, both for parents and law enforcement.
Some parents suspect their children were trying to get pain relievers to treat various aches and pains that were not treated by doctors or dentists, while some say their children were trying to escape a world of emotional turmoil. In at least one case, a parent suspects Snapchat of facilitating a deal with a drug dealer who may only live a few blocks away.
None of this is to say that Snapchat is off the hook. A mother says the alleged dealer is still advertising pills months later. Another parent says it took Snap five months to provide law enforcement with information about a suspected dealer, who was ultimately arrested. Snap told NBC he is working with the DEA to determine how he should proactively search for drug-related content and remove accounts he suspects are from dealers. As NBC points out, however, it’s not difficult to create a new one.
The story raises questions about how to effectively moderate drug-related topics and Snapchat’s role in the wildfire-like spread of fentanyl. For this, it is worth reading.
Disclosure: Comcast, owner of NBCUniversal, is also an investor in Vox Media, The edgethe parent company of.
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