Snapchat is being sued for allegedly exposing minors to sexually explicit content

Shutterstock/Focal Point
A class-action lawsuit brought against Snapchat claims that the app is presenting minors with “sexually offensive content” without the consent of their parents.

Filed on Tuesday by attorney Mark J. Geragos, the lawsuit specifically targets Snapchat’s Discover section, home to third-party content from the app’s media partners.

Snapchat is painted throughout the complaint as a lewd social network, and at one point is described as having its roots in “surreptitious ‘sexting,’” which according to the suit, it still indirectly encourages minors to participate in.

In particular, it cites several articles from Discover content providers, including a piece by Vice entitled “People Share their Secret Rules for Sex,” and a Cosmopolitan piece with the heading “10 Things He Thinks When He Can’t Make You Orgasm,” among others.

“Snapchat’s terms of service, which are generally entered into directly by minors (who by law lack the capacity and consent to enter into contracts in the first place), includes no warnings about the offensive content on Snapchat Discover,” states the lawsuit.

The majority (69 percent) of Snapchat’s estimated 150 million users are believed to be between the ages of 18-24. A sizable number (estimated at 34.5 million) are thought to be aged between 13-17, according to the suit.

“The fact that Snapchat does not differentiate content offered to its minor users and adult users is problematic, and ultimately a violation of Federal and State consumer law,” claims the lawsuit.

Snapchat’s terms of service dictate that users must be at least 13 years of age to sign up to the app (the same age requirement applies to other social-media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook).

The plaintiff is described as a 14-year-old boy who lives in Los Angeles, California. His mother is identified as Lynette Young. The suit states that among the articles accessed by the boy was a BuzzFeed piece that used images of iconic Disney characters to describe sexual acts, and included “pornographic” captions and “innuendo.” The listicle was entitled: “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever had Sex With A Penis.”

Geragos — who has previously represented celebrity clients including Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, and Chris Brown — claims the app’s violation of federal law should result in a civil penalty of up to a $50,000 a day. A hearing is yet to be scheduled for the case.

Snapchat said in a statement that it has been formally served the lawsuit. “We are sorry if people were offended. Our Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that we support,” it added.


Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.