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Snapchat Sued for Allegedly Exposing Minors to Adult Content
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Summary: Snapchat has been hit with a class action lawsuit, alleging it exposes minors to inappropriate content.

A 14-year-old is suing Snapchat with the help of power lawyer, Mark Geragos. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the origins of the story began when a teen saw a Buzzfeed article that “perverted” Disney characters into offensive images on the Snapchat app. He is now leading a class action of approximately 150 million users that say the app violates the Communications Decency Act by exposing minors to adult content.

  
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Filed on Thursday in California, the lawsuit alleges that Snapchat has “an insidious pattern and practice of intentionally exposing minors to harmful, offensive, prurient and sexually offensive content, without warning minors or their parents that they would be exposed to such explicit content.”

On Snapchat Discover, users check out content from media partners such as Buzzfeed or MTV, and the lawsuit said that some of that content is not suitable for children but does not contain any warnings. Examples include titles with phrases such as “I got high, blown…,” “F#ck Buddies…” and “Orgasm” and there are also sexually-charged photographs that minors can easily view. The lawsuit alleges that there are no ways to differentiate adult and minor content, and that some adult content appears to be marketed towards kids. The lawsuit cited the perverse Disney post as an example.

Law Professor Eric Goldman said to The Hollywood Reporter that this lawsuit tests the notification obligations required under the Communications Decency Act.

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“Overall, this lawsuit is like a 1990s throwback when Congress and the states tried to make websites screen minors from offensive content,” Goldman stated. “We haven’t seen many such lawsuits since then because the First Amendment and Section 230 have wiped them out. Maybe these plaintiffs have found a way around that, in which case the lawyers will seem brilliant. If not, this will be just the latest failed crazy attempt to hold websites liable for third party content.”

The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages as well as an injunction that would require Snapchat to warn users about adult content.



Snapchat has apologized to the people it had offended and said that, “Our Discover partners have editorial independence.”

Do you think Snapchat should pay for exposing minors to risqué content? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Photo courtesy of Snapchat



 

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