Snapchat is facing a new lawsuit over claims that Snapchat Discover routinely serves sexually explicit content to minors without warning them or their parents. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed by a 14-year-old boy and his mother in US district court this week in the central district of California. The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit after being offended by sexually explicit content in Snapchat Discover channels earlier this month, including a BuzzFeed feature named ” 23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever had Sex With A Penis .” (NSFW!)
The lawsuit says Discover routinely includes sexually explicit content without providing proper warnings to parents, in violation of the Communications Decency Act. “Millions of parents in the United States today are unaware that Snapchat is curating and publishing this profoundly sexual and offensive content to their children,” the lawsuit says. “By engaging in such conduct directed at minors, and making it simple and easy for users to ‘snap’ each other content from Snapchat Discover, Snapchat is reinforcing the use of its service to facilitate problematic communications, such as ‘sexting,’ between minors. Snapchat has placed profit from monetizing Snapchat Discover over the safety of children.”
“SNAPCHAT HAS PLACED PROFIT FROM MONETIZING DISCOVER OVER THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN.”
The App Store rates Snapchat as being appropriate for children ages 12 and older, and says it contains infrequent or mild sexual content, nudity, suggestive themes, profanity, and references to drugs and alcohol. Snapchat’s terms of services restrict the use of the service to children 13 and older. “We haven’t been served with a complaint in this lawsuit, but we are sorry if people were offended,” a company spokeswoman told The Verge in an email. “Our Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that we support.” (Vox Media, which owns The media, makes Discover content for Snapchat.)
Partners are responsible for the content in Discover, but Snapchat often exercises a heavy hand in guiding them on the look and feel of stories, according to current partners who have spoken to The Media . The lawsuit lists sex-focused stories from multiple partners that ran in Discover during the first week of July, including “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 “People Share Their Secret Rules for Sex.” (From the last one: “Do not shove my head towards your dick while we’re hooking up in hopes of me giving you a blowjob. If I’m going to do it, I’ll do it, so relax. Same applies to butt stuff.”)
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and a requirement that Snapchat provide an in-app warning about the app’s sexual content. You can read the full suit embedded below.
Snapchat Indecency Lawsuit