Snapchat is getting a new feature called “Here For You” that will share safety resources with users when they search for terms regarding mental health or bullying. The company says the new feature will roll out in the coming months. Here For You will “provide proactive in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis," or who are interested in learning more about such things to help friends or family deal with them.
The forthcoming feature will "show safety resources from local experts" when users search for specific topics, "including those related to anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying."
Are tech companies feeling guilty about something? — These sorts of features are become more common as tech companies face growing calls to address how their use may affect the mental well-being of users.
Google, for instance, similarly returns resources including hotline numbers when users search for keywords that may indicate depressive thoughts, and Instagram lets users mute people they follow... so you don't have to see every launch party, hot-tub night, runway fashion show, or movie premier your nemesis from high school attends.
Instagram's been testing similar tools — Instagram has also begun offering anti-bullying tools for captions, and its “Restrict” tool hides a user’s comments on your photos from everyone except the original poster, effectively letting you shadowban them. That’s better than making you block problematic users, because blocking shows the perpetrator their actions have had the desired effect, and can encourage them to target you on other platforms.
Even better would be outright banning false, malicious, misleading, hateful or racist content on social networks and related services. But hey, they have their user numbers to worry about. When in doubt, we suggest a grand and sweeping unfollow fest. That's guaranteed to improve your mental health.