The go-to app for sexting, Snapchat, is being sued for exposing minors to explicit content.
Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, who has repped the likes of Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of a 14-year-old plaintiff, citing a violation of the Communications Decency Act. This 1996 act attempts to regulate pornographic material on the Internet.
The lawsuit states that the app 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.”
Specifically, this content is found on Snapchat Discover, which features articles and videos from media companies including Buzzfeed, MTV, Cosmopolitan, and Vice. These articles have titles like “10 Things He Thinks When He Can’t Make You Orgasm” and “I Got High, Blown, And Robbed When I Was A Pizza Delivery Guy.”
The 14-year-old found disturbing images of his favorite Disney characters when he was scrolling through Discover in early July. The article was called “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever Had Sex With A Penis.” After bringing this article to the attention of his mother, she was “shocked and horrified to learn that such explicit content was actually being made available by Snapchat without warnings, filters or parental control,” according to the lawsuit.
The filing seeks class-action status, but the app’s user agreement forbids class-action filings, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit desires to hold Snapchat financially accountable for each violation of the law ($50,000 to be exact) and to convince the app to warn parents and their kids about the curated content.
Snapchat’s terms of service cautions users from sending sexually explicit pics, but this explicit material is not clearly forbidden on the Discover tab.
A Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement that they are “sorry if people were offended” and that “Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that (they) support.”