The agency behind on the spot messaging app Snapchat has advised MPs it could contemplate adjustments to its friendship streaks, which have been criticised for being doubtlessly addictive.
Streaks are used as a mark of a detailed friendship inside the Snapchat app.
It includes buddies exchanging messages however every response should arrive inside 24 hours. Some Snap customers juggle dozens, and even tons of, concurrently.
Snap executives advised British MPs they might “revisit” the characteristic.
MPs from the Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport choose committee are exploring the addictive nature of social and gaming platforms.
Streaks are created inside Snapchat if two customers have exchanged messages for greater than three days in a row. The longer they proceed, the better the streak.
Some kids ask buddies to signal into their accounts if they cannot, with a purpose to keep their complete.
Snapchat’s senior director of public coverage, Stephen Collins, and Will Scougal, Snap’s artistic technique director, downplayed their significance, saying they had been a part of a set of options launched in 2015 and never an integral a part of the app.
However committee chairman Damian Collins in contrast streaks to likes on Fb and re-tweets on Twitter.
“It appears that evidently the worth of a relationship may very well be measured within the size of a streak,” he mentioned, asking whether or not mother and father who felt that they had been placing “undue stress” on their youngsters may take away them.
No, mentioned the executives, however each promised to “take the ideas of the committee on board”.
“Streaks had been meant to be a enjoyable factor. We’ve got diminished them in dimension by 30%, according to suggestions from the Youngsters’s Fee, however we’re at all times whether or not we should always sundown a specific characteristic and we are going to revisit it,” mentioned Snap’s Stephen Collins.
The agency additionally confronted robust questions on the way it makes certain that youngsters below the age of 13 usually are not becoming a member of the platform.
One MP mentioned he had joined the app simply regardless of supplying a date of beginning that indicated he was 12 years outdated.
Mr Collins acknowledged that it was “not attainable to maintain under-13s off any platform” as a result of they will simply get round parental controls.
“We want a strong age verification system and we’re working with the Dwelling Workplace on this,” he advised MPs.
The agency was additionally requested a couple of phenomenon of “Snapchat dysmorphia” during which filters and lenses alter physique and facial options.
The executives had been requested in the event that they felt they had been a part of a rising dialog about whether or not such programs had been encouraging younger women to have physique points and even melancholy.
They mentioned the filters had been “a enjoyable approach” of overlaying actuality and that “extra analysis was wanted throughout the entire business” on the societal results of magnificence apps and filters.
Snapchat’s involvement within the high-profile and tragic case of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by Lewis Daynes after making buddies with him on a gaming web site, was additionally below scrutiny.
Snapchat has confronted media criticism for failing to supply information to police investigating claims that the murdered boy’s household acquired messages by way of the platform which graphically recounted the killing.
The messaging agency mentioned it will take a 12 months for police to get this information as a result of the agency relies within the US and due to this fact sure by an settlement referred to as the Mutual Authorized Help Treaty.
Mr Collins advised the committee that Snap had been requested by Kent police about its insurance policies however had by no means formally been requested to launch any information.
It mentioned it had spoken to Breck’s household about easy methods to report and block content material and easy methods to protect information for any future police investigation.
It additionally mentioned it had suggested them on resetting their accounts and never accepting friendship requests from folks they didn’t know.
Requested whether or not Snap may have made an exception and given police the related information had they requested, Mr Collins mentioned he must test with Snap’s authorized workforce.