Snapchat Is Getting Sued Over Sexually Explicit Content

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Snapchat is a social media platform which has been gaining momentum, especially among millennials. It currently boasts up to 10 billion video views a day and is set to surpass the user base of Twitter and Pinterest in the US this year. The company introduced a new feature to its app in early 2015 and it is called Discover. Basically, it is somewhat like Snapchat Stories, except that it is for companies which pay an undisclosed sum to Snapchat to get their brand featured in the Discover section. The companies which are listed on the section are able to post stories on the Discover page and these stories will be replaced by new ones everyday.

However, while it might seem like everything is going pretty well for Snapchat, the company has been recently slapped with a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses Snapchat of showing sexually explicit content to minors without providing proper warning. This comes after 14-year old John Doe came across several explicit posts on the apps Discover section. Court documents specifically named a few articles, such as "I Got High, Blown, and Robbed When I Was A Pizza Delivery Guy", "10 Things He Thinks When He Can't Make You Orgasm" and others. However the lawsuit focused on one post by BuzzFeed which was titled "23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You've Ever Had Sex With A Penis". The said post used pictures of Disney characters which were given sexually explicit captions. The lawsuit is filed by law firm Geragos and Geragos on behalf of John Doe and is seeking damages in the form of civil penalties as well as an in-app warning about the possible sexual content.

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The lawsuit also stated that while Snapchat doesn't have the ability to curate the snaps sent by users to each other, the company curates the articles which are posted on the Discover section. Snapchat has since refuted this claim, clarifying that all its partners on the Discover section have editorial independence and it is something the company supports. At the moment, Snapchat's Discover section features mainly media companies such as Buzzfeed, Vice, Daily Mail and Cosmopolitan for content. The Google Play Store rates the Snapchat app appropriate for users aged 12 and older and the same goes for Apple's App Store.