Snapchat sued for exposing minors to ‘sexually offensive’ content

Snapchat, a popular messaging app among teens, is being sued for allegedly not doing enough to warn parents and minors about “sexually offensive” content featured on the app.

The class-action lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of a 14-year-old boy in Los Angeles and his mom, claims that the Venice tech firm is “currently engaged in an insidious pattern and practice of intentionally exposing minors to harmful, offensive, prurient, and sexually offensive content.”

Snapchat has a feature called “Discover” in its app that highlights articles from media outlets including BuzzFeed, Vice, Cosmoplitan, MTV and more. But some of these articles such as “10 Things He Thinks When He Can’t Make You Orgasm,” “I Got High, Blown and Robbed When I Was A Pizza Delivery Guy” and “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Penis Tattoos” were shown on the app and are too racy for minors, according to the lawsuit.

Snapchat, which has 150 million daily active users, requires that people who use the app be 13 years old or older.

“We haven’t been served with a complaint in this lawsuit, but we are sorry if people were offended. Our Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that we support,” a spokesman for Snapchat said in a statement to SiliconBeat.

Mark Geragos, a well-known lawyer who has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, claims in the lawsuit that Snapchat has a lot of control over what its media partners publish on the app.

By not doing enough to warn minors and their parents about the sexual content, Snapchat violated the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that requires internet computer services to notify users that there are ways for parents to limit access to content that may be harmful to minors, the lawyer claims. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, also argues that Snapchat has run afoul of California consumer laws.

The plaintiff, a 14-year-old boy, was using the app’s “Discover” feature in July when he came across a BuzzFeed article that showed pictures of some of his favorite Disney characters. But it turned out that the photos were compiled for a piece titled “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever had Sex With A Penis.”

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The boy brought this to the attention of his mother, who “was shocked and horrified to learn that such explicit content was actually being made available by Snapchat without warning, filters, or parental control.”

To read the full lawsuit, click here.

Photo: Snapchat’s Discover feature was first released in 2015. (Snapchat)


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  • EllaFino

    How about controlling what apps your kids download on their phones instead of bringing stupid lawsuits.