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UK government spends £70,000 on Snapchat filters

The government is embracing the popular messaging app to warn of the dangers of driving while high.

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The UK government has spent £70,000 (about $100,000 or AU$134,000) on Snapchat filters.

The filter -- which puts prison-style bars over a user's picture -- wasn't wasted in sending funny messages between civil servants, however. Images with the filter were used as part of the government's THINK! public health campaign against driving while under the influence of drugs.

The numbers were revealed in a freedom-of-information request initiated by BuzzFeed News, which points out that 5 percent of the campaign's total budget went on the service.

It's good to see the government embracing new apps and methods of broadcast. If you want to reach a young audience, Snapchat is the place to do it: the messaging app has over 100 million daily users, many of whom are hard-to-reach millennials.

"Enforcement alone is not the answer," a spokesman for the Department of Transport told me. "We need to educate and influence behaviour change. The use of new applications such as Snapchat will help us reach different audiences, change attitudes towards drug-driving and ultimately save lives."

If you're not permanently creeped out by the app's face-swapping feature, check out five Snapchat tips every user should know and follow up with four tips to becoming a power user. And don't forget to follow CNET -- we're "cnetsnaps".