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Explainer: How does Snapchat work?

Teenagers used Snapchat to organise the meet up.
Teenagers used Snapchat to organise the meet up.

Dozens of teenagers were accompanied home by police after organising an illegal drinking session through Snapchat.

But what is the social media and how does it work?

Does your child use Snapchat?

Does your child use Snapchat?

Read more: Snapchat shout out brings together 70 youths for drinking session in Houghton

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a messaging app used to send pictures, videos and messages to friends in your address book.

How do you use it?

You can take pictures and record videos within the app to send to your friends, or upload directly from your device's in-built camera. You can add filters, stickers and text to personalise your message.

What makes it different from other social media platforms?

Pictures, videos and other messages are only available for a limited time before they vanish. This time limit used to be 10 seconds, but now the message vanishes when the recipient closes it down.

Snapchat was also one of the first social media platforms to feature "Stories" - a function allowing users to display their Snaps over a 24-hour period.

What else can you do with it?

An update added in 2016 enabled Snapchat users to save their pictures, videos and stories into "Memories" - a section of the app which would privately store Snaps taken on a particular device.

You can follow celebrities and view their public Snapchat stories, and catch up on what's trending or in the news using the app's featured and daily stories section.

How many people use it?

As of May last year, Snapchat has an estimated 166million active users.

What happened in Houghton

Northumbria Police officers working in Houghton came across a group of 70 teenagers while out on patrol last night. Plans had been made between the teenagers, who descended on the town from Durham, via Snapchat to organise meeting up to drink.

The force has increased its efforts to tackle bad behaviour in Houghton following a rise in incidents involving young people gathering in the town centre.

Superintendent Steve Heatley said: "

Together with the local authority, local businesses and residents we can make Houghton a safer place to live and work.”