Pando

Mom sues after teen discovers "sexually offensive content" on Snapchat of all places

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on July 12, 2016

From The "You know, for kids" Desk

A cautionary tale for parents: Apparently if your kids are using Snapchat (an app founded by Evan "Fuckbitchesgetleid" Spiegel, which first became popular as a medium for sending dick pics) there's a chance they might be "harmful, offensive, prurient and sexually offensive content."

That's the important message in a new lawsuit, filed by concerned Los Angeles parent  Lynette Young against the company.

According to the suit, first reported on Courthouse News

 On July 1, [Young's son] says, he was exploring Snapchat Discover when he found a compilation of Disney images under the title "23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You've Ever Had Sex With A Penis." The photos were accompanied by adult-themed jokes and Doe says his "favorite Disney movies were perverted into obscene sexual images and text."

     He saw a story about a performance artist titled "What Is It Really Like to Let People Finger You in Public," and showed it to his mother, who was "horrified and shocked" to learn that Snapchat made such things available to children.

The Disney images appear to refer to this Buzzfeed story which would also have been available through Buzzfeed's Snapchat Discover channel. I wasn't able to track down the "What Is It Really Like to Let People Finger You in Public" story, which is however now part of my permanent Google record. 

The fact that Snapchat is being sued over content in Buzzfeed's Discover channel is ironic, given the company's early tussles with Buzzfeed over editorial control. In February last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that a plan to make Buzzfeed a launch partner for Discover had fallen through because Snapchat was insisting on too much control over Buzzfeed's content.

“Publishers have complete editorial control over their channels,” Snapchat spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker told the Journal at the time. (Since then Hazelbaker has left Snapchat to head up comms at Uber) 

Still, the two companies apparently came to an agreement as Buzzfeed's channel was quietly added to the service a few months later.

And now Snapchat is getting sued. 

Per Courthouse News:

Young and her son say Snapchat does almost nothing to keep adult content away from minors. Updated Terms of Service for Snapchat do not address adult content on Snapchat Discover, and though it has rules about not sending sexual jokes, captions or cartoons to minors that are created "outside" of Snapchat, it says nothing about "explicit content found within Snapchat," according to the complaint.
     "The content Snapchat offers on Snapchat Discover consistently violates Snapchat's own Community Guidelines. If Snapchat were a user, it would be banned from using Snapchat," the complaint states.

According to Snapchat's terms of service "no one under 13 is allowed to create an account or use the Services." According to the suit, Young's son is 14.