On Wednesday, in a statement Snap Inc, Snapchat’s owner said, it has hired a longtime online safety advocate as its first global head of platform safety; the development comes at a time when the company continues to ramp up efforts revolving around user safety with social media firms facing mounting scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators.
Snap has hired Jacqueline Beauchere, who will represent its safety work to regulators, lawmakers and partners and help advise the company on new policies and initiatives.
Previously, Beauchere worked at Microsoft Corp for more than 2 decades at various positions including its chief online safety officer.
US lawmakers, as well as child safety advocates have raised concerns on a wide range of issues faced by users of online platforms including mental health impacts and potential abuses from bullying to child sexual exploitation.
“We are committed to helping parents, stakeholders and advocates understand how young people experience our products and how we approach critical issues around safety and trust,” said Snap’s vice president of global policy Jen Stout said in a statement.
She went on to add, “There is no one better suited to help us accomplish this than Jacqueline, and this work will only become more important as we deepen our focus into augmented reality and the future of computing”.
With major tech companies racing to develop augmented reality offerings in smart devices, there have been fresh concerns surround safety and privacy, on how these products might invade people’s private spaces or how companies will handle information gathered through such devices.
Earlier this year, Snap launched its Augmented Reality (AR) glasses; they are currently offered only to AR creators. Last week, Facebook Inc unveiled its first smart glasses.
Although Snap’s focus on photo-messaging provides fewer avenues for viral content othan other social media sites, it is facing mounting pressures given its young user base.
The platform is also used by children aged 9-12 despite age limit rules, according to a report by nonprofit Thorn in May.
During an interview, Stout said, Snap is developing more proactive technologies to prevent under 13-year-olds from signing up for the app. She also mentioned that the company is revamping its in-app reporting tools to give users more detailed updates when they report platform abuses.
Snap also intends to add more safety features to its Snap Map, which lets users share their location with friends.