Specifically, the lawsuit alleges the inappropriate content is in a section of the app called Discover, where publishers like BuzzFeed and Vice share stories exclusively designed for the service.
The lawsuit was filed by the mother of a 14 year old boy (John Doe), who alleges publishers are sharing content that parents would likely prohibit if they knew their children were being given unrestricted access. The complaint highlights stories like Buzzfeed’s “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever had Sex With A Penis,” (illustrated with scenes from Disney animated movies) and Vice’s “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Penis Tattoos.”
According to the proposed suit, “Innocent pictures from John’s favorite Disney movies were perverted into obscene sexual images and text.”
Additionally, the offensive content is mixed with messages from Snapchat stating things like, “If They Don’t Snap You On A Daily Basis It Isn’t Real,” according to the complaint.
Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos that disappear. According to the suit, while the app is frequently accused of promoting sexting among teens, parents may not be aware of the explicit content being shared on Discover by media outlets, without any warning or age verification.
“Although Snapchat claims to have pivoted away from its founding roots which included promoting surreptitious ‘sexting’ with disappearing text and images, the content Snapchat develops and curates on Snapchat Discover paints a different and dangerous picture,” the lawsuit states.
Created in 2015, Snapchat Discover was designed as a place where handpicked media outlets could share content. According to the complaint, “Snapchat exercises direct control over its editorial content and what is published.”
The suit alleges Snapchat has violated the Communication Decency Act, which requires internet computer services like Snapchat to notify customers that parental control protections are available. While Snapchat’s terms of service does say that its app is restricted to users older than 13 years old, it does not warn against potential offensive content found on Snapchat Discover.
The case is : 2:16-CV-04955