Snapchat 101

Snapchat is a communications service designed for people ages 13 and up. It’s very popular with teenagers and young adults, who primarily use it to talk with their close friends, similar to the ways they interact in real life. It’s similar to how older generations use text messaging or their phone to stay in touch with friends and family. If you don’t use Snapchat, here’s a quick look at how the app works.

The Basics

Our goal is to provide a healthy and safe experience, and we purposely designed Snapchat differently from social media. Snapchat doesn’t open to a public news feed powered by an algorithm with likes and comments. Instead, the app opens to a camera and has five tabs: Camera, Chat, Map, Stories, and Spotlight. Check out this video to learn more:

Snapchat, Explained

How Messaging Works on Snapchat

Conversations on Snapchat delete by default to reflect real-life conversations. Before social media, our fun, spontaneous, and silly interactions with friends only lived on in our memories! Snapchat is designed to mirror that dynamic, to help people feel comfortable expressing themselves without feeling pressure or judgment. 

It’s important to know that even though conversations on Snapchat delete by default, we can retain data while we review reports of harmful content from teens and parents. In some cases, this includes referring an incident to law enforcement. In case authorities want to follow up, we retain this data for an even longer period of time, and we work with law enforcement to help bring offenders to justice. 

Helpful to know! Snaps and Chats may delete by default, but anyone can screen grab anything off of a computer or phone screen without a person’s consent. As with sharing anything online, it’s important to be really careful about requesting or sending anyone – even a partner or close friend – private or sensitive images and information.

Community Guidelines

We have a clear set of Community Guidelines to help Snapchatters use our services safely. These rules prohibit illegal and potentially harmful content and behavior such as sexual exploitation, pornography, selling illicit drugs, violence, self-harm, and misinformation. We apply additional moderation to our public content platforms, Stories and Spotlight, to prevent content that violates our rules from reaching a large audience.

To enforce against violations of our Community Guidelines and avoid any potential dangers, we use both proactive detection tools and reports from Snapchatters, parents, and law enforcement.  We have a 24/7 global Trust & Safety team that investigates these reports and, in most cases, they take action within an hour in order to enforce Snapchat’s safety standards. That can include warning users, removing content, banning an account, and escalating a report to law enforcement.

Safeguards for Teens

See how we help keep teens safe on Snapchat.