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Snapchat launches lenses to make it easier to donate to COVID-19 response efforts

Launched in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and to run throughout Ramadan

Coinciding with World Health Day, Snap Inc. launched new augmented reality lenses in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization (WHO). The campaign leverages the creative power of augmented reality to create new, engaging ways for people to support COVID-19 response efforts. The new lenses are available immediately in select markets around the world including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The new lenses allow Snapchatters to scan real-life objects to unlock a special AR experience. When a person views an AED10/SAR10 note, for example, and taps on it in the Snapchat camera, an AR experience will trigger to show how a potential donation could support the WHO’s immediate response efforts. Snapchatters will be able to access these lenses in several ways, including in the lens carousel, via Snapcode, or by using the camera’s Scan function.

These lenses then direct users to the international donation page for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The donations being made–all of which are made on the official WHO portal–will go into a fund to support tracking and understanding the spread of COVID-19; ensuring patients get the care they need, and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and accelerating efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Hussein Freijeh, General Manager of Snap Inc., Middle East, said: “The new lenses build on our efforts to support Snapchatters and our partners as we navigate this unprecedented challenge together. This campaign also comes as we are getting ready to welcome the holy month of Ramadan and celebrate the spirit of giving. We believe that everyone can play a meaningful role in stopping the spread of COVID-19, and that it is our responsibility to support initiatives that can make that happen.”

As more Snapchatters stay inside due to COVID-19 restrictions, they’ve also been spending more time on their phones. Snaps sent between friends have recently reached an all-time high globally, surpassing the platform’s typical peaks. The large increases are disproportionately driven by those sending Snaps to their top contacts (i.e. their best friends), according to recent data released in a company blog.