Snapchat, which began its life with an X-rated reputation, is now being sued for some R-rated content — by someone who can barely see a PG-13 movie.
A 14-year-old boy and his mom have filed a lawsuit against Snapchat over content that appeared on the Discover section, which features stories, video and interactive elements from a variety of media partners. (Mashable is a partner on Discover.)
The complaint comes from the law firm of Mark Geragos, one of the most well-known media lawyers currently practicing.
“Specifically, through Snapchat Discover, Snapchat is currently engaged in 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,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit, which can be found in its entirety at the bottom of this post, includes a variety of examples of content that the mother and son claim is inappropriate for him to see.
The complaint references a variety of examples, taking particular time to call out a post from BuzzFeed entitled “23 Pictures That AreToo Real If You’ve Ever had Sex With A Penis” that features Disney characters.
“Innocent pictures from John’s favorite Disney movies were perverted into obscene sexual images and text,” the complaint reads.
There’s plenty more in the complaint if you are so inclined.
In a statement, Snapchat claimed that it had not yet received the complaint.
“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,” Snapchat said in the statement.
The lawsuit is seeking damages of an unspecified dollar amount. It leaves the boy’s name out of it but clarifies that he recently joined Snapchat, as did many of his peers.
“John Doe is a 14 year old boy who lives in Los Angeles, California. John gets good grades. His favorite class is history and science. John looks forward to attending college,” the complaint states.
“Like most of his friends, John recently joined the ‘Snapchat craze.’ John uses his account on Snapchat as his primary method of communicating with friends,” the complaint continues. “John has fun posting pictures of himself using features from Snapchat‟s facial recognition technology. John also uses the video chat feature on Snapchat to stay connected with friends and relatives.”
The experience of “John” points to a growing issue for Snapchat. As the app has grown and matured beyond its early days of ephemeral messaging, the company has added a variety of features and attracted a wider range of users.
That has included younger users who are now encountering media from a variety of publications that aren’t necessarily programming for 14 year olds.
The lawsuit is of the class action variety, meaning others with similar complaints could join. The filing notes that Snapchat currently has around 150 million users.
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