A 14-year-old California boy and his mother are suing messaging app Snapchat over a series of explicit articles that appeared in its Snapchat Discover feature.
The boy’s mother hired Mark J. Geragos and Ben Meiselas, of the famous law firm Geragos & Geragos. The firm’s clients have included Chris Brown, Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and Scott Peterson.
The unnamed boy is 14 years old and lives in Los Angeles. He “gets good grades. His favorite class is history and science. (He) looks forward to attending college,” according to the complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Central California.
The boy recently joined Snapchat, and it is the primary way he communicates with friends, according to the suit. On July 1, the complaint alleges, the boy came across a BuzzFeed article that used pictures from Disney movies and was titled “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever Had Sex With A Penis.”
“Innocent pictures from (his) favorite Disney movies were perverted into obscene sexual images and text,” according to the suit.
The boy then came across another article in Discover, this one titled “What It Is Really Like To Let People Finger You In Public.”
The boy brought the information to his mother, who was “shocked and horrified to learn that such explicit content was actually being made available by Snapchat without warning, filters or parental control,” according to the suit.
Snapchat said in a statement to GeekWire, “We haven’t been served with a complaint in this lawsuit, but we are sorry if people were offended. Our Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that we support.”
The plaintiffs seek to represent a national class of people age 13 to 17 who joined Snapchat after Jan. 27, 2015.
Snapchat began as a one-on-one message app, but later added the Discover feature, which includes content from media partners like Buzzfeed, Vice, Fusion and others. Contrary with Snapchat’s statement, the suit alleges that Snapchat has editorial control over Discover stories to remove explicit content or warn parents and minors about it, but chose not to. The plaintiffs alleged that Snapchat’s actions violate the U.S. Communications Decency Act.
The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration certifying the complaint as a class action, monetary damages for the plaintiffs and others who may have been harmed by the explicit Discover content, disclosure of documents related to Snapchat Discover and declarations that Snapchat can’t continue to display explicit content.
This isn’t the first time Snapchat has been in legal hot water. A lawsuit filed earlier this year blamed Snapchat, along with a teenager who was allegedly using the popular messaging app to share how fast she was driving, for an accident that left another driver in Georgia with severe injuries.
Snapchat Suit on Scribd