Snapchat Makes Crucial Changes for Child Safety After Being Placed on 2023 Dirty Dozen List

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (September 7, 2023) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) commends Snapchat for making comprehensive changes to improve child safety as a direct response to being named to its 2023 Dirty Dozen List. As a result, NCOSE is moving Snapchat to its Dirty Dozen “Watch List.”

“Snapchat heard our concerns about sexual exploitation on its platform and has implemented significant changes after being placed on our 2023 Dirty Dozen List. Since Snapchat has made a public commitment to continued improvements around child safety, we are moving Snapchat to our ‘Watch List,’” said Lina Nealon, Vice President and Director of Corporate Advocacy, National Center on Sexual Exploitation. 

Some of the changes include: 

Protecting teens from being contacted by people they may not know in real life 

  • Showing teens a pop-up warning if they add a friend who they don’t share mutual friends with or the person isn’t in their contacts, in addition to requiring teens have a greater number of mutual friends before they can show up in Search results or as a friend suggestion.
  • Increasing visibility for parents in Family Center.

Restricting teens from viewing sexually suggestive and explicit content on Snapchat 

  • Implementing a bad actor “Strike System” for accounts that continuously post sexually suggestive and explicit content and increase content moderation and detection of violating content in Spotlight and Stories.  
  • Restricting links in profiles to only official partners/advertisers. These links were one of main ways users – including minors – could easily access external prostitution or pornography sites.  
  • Beginning in 2024, Snapchat will begin automatically turning Content Controls ON for all new minor accounts joining the Family Center.

Resources and education about sexual abuse and exploitation 

  • Providing in-app resources that will appear when users make keyword searches for terms like “sex trafficking” or “nudes leaked” – terms that previously populated abusive content.   
  • Releasing multiple Safety Snapshot episodes about sexual abuse and exploitation, and will create a dedicated page on sexual risks and harms resources and support.

Snapchat acknowledged NCOSE’s role in its changes: “Several of our new product safeguards were informed by feedback from The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). Our new in-app educational resources were developed with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). We are grateful for their recommendations and contributions.” 

“While these changes are significant, there is more to be done. For instance, Snapchat has yet to automatically block/blur sexually explicit content sent/received by users, especially minors. While sexually explicit content is prohibited by Snapchat’s policies, this content is still heavily pervasive on the platform. We are encouraged by our dialogue with Snapchat and will continue to monitor its efforts to improve,” said Nealon.

A recent Thorn report found Snapchat to be #1 platform where most minors reported having an online sexual interaction, #3 for sexual interaction with an adult. Snapchat reaches 90% of the 13–24-year-old population and 75% of the 13–34-year-old population in 20+ countries. 
The Watch List is a part of NCOSE’s Dirty Dozen List campaign and serves dual purposes. In some instances, the Dirty Dozen Watch List puts entities on notice that they may soon find themselves named as a major contributor to sexual exploitation unless they demonstrate significant and sustained efforts to address their role in fueling sexual exploitation. In other cases, by placing an organization on the Watch List, NCOSE is affirming an entity’s positive step towards addressing its role in sexual exploitation. In this instance, the latter applies to Snapchat.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)  
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.   

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

Previous slide
Next slide


Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.

Defend Human Dignity. Donate Now.

Defend Dignity.
Donate Now.