Senate Congressional Testimony – Our Approach to Safety, Privacy and Wellbeing

Senate Congressional Testimony – Our Approach to Safety, Privacy and Wellbeing

This work has been encouraging: In 2020 alone, our team helped over 1.2 million Snapchatters register to vote. According to data from Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), of those Snapchatters we helped register in 2020, half were first-time voters and more than 80 percent were under the age of thirty.

But we also know that inspiring the next generation of leaders needs to be an always-on effort-not just for high-profile elections. So, we developed a feature that prompts Snapchatters to register to vote on their eighteenth birthday. More broadly, our voter engagement tools are available year-round, and our hope is that they help lay the groundwork for a lifetime of self-expression through civic engagement.

Looking ahead, we continue to innovate based on the feedback we receive from Snapchatters. After the 2020 presidential election, we heard from Snapchatters who were disappointed with the lack of candidates running on issues they care about. It makes sense. Representation matters, but for many young people, running for office seems unapproachable, confusing and financially unrealistic. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), legislators from the baby boomer generation have a disproportionate influence in America’s legislatures, with nearly twice as many members as their overall share of the US population. As a consequence, the gap between those who are governing us and their representation of the next generation of Americans keeps getting wider. Moreover, according to the Pipeline Initiative, over half of candidates didn’t think about running until they were recruited or encouraged by a trusted peer.

We have always believed that we have a moral responsibility to put their interests first – and believe that all tech companies must take responsibility and actively protect the communities they serve

We want to do our part to make it easier for Snapchatters to make a difference in their local communities on the issues they care most about by running for office. Recently, we launched a new feature in Snapchat to help young people learn about upcoming electoral races in their community-and to nominate friends they want to see in leadership. Snapchatters can explore local opportunities sorted by various policy issues, see what each position entails and create a centralized campaign dashboard that includes a “checklist” of all the elements the candidate needs to accomplish before successfully running for public office. We’ve initially partnered with a bipartisan group of ten candidate recruitment organizations that work with potential candidates to give them the resources they need to get started, including leadership workshops and campaign training. Through encouragement with friends and training from these partner organizations, we see this as a fun and impactful way for Snapchatters to step into leadership and have their voices heard.

Every day on our app, we see the Snapchat Generation show incredible passion, creativity and innovation that’s helping make the world a better place.

We will continue to do our part to help remove the barriers that have historically kept young people from showing up to vote, and we are committed to empowering future generations to speak out and play a part in designing our-and their-future

Today, our VP of Global Public Policy, Jennifer Stout, joined other tech platforms in testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security about Snap’s approach to protecting young people on our platform.

We were grateful for the opportunity to explain to the Subcommittee how we intentionally built Snapchat differently from traditional social media platforms, how we work to build safety and privacy directly into the design of our platform and products, and where we need to continue to improve to better protect the wellbeing of our community.