Popular messaging site, Snapchat is being sued by a Los Angeles law firm for exposing children to “harmful, offensive, prurient and sexually offensive content.”
The suit, brought on behalf of parents seeking class action status, says that Snapchat’s Terms of Service includes no warnings about the potentially offensive content found on Snapchat Discover.
Parents allege that Snapchat’s Discover feature violates the Communications Decency Act, which requires internet services to notify customers that parental control systems are available to help them limit access to material that may be harmful to minors.
The lawsuit says that the site is being negligent by posting it without warning.
Snapchat’s Discover feature, first introduced in January of 2015, is a curated collection of articles and items from media outlets such as Buzzfeed, People, Vice, Cosmopolitan, MTV, National Geographic, the Wall Street Journal and others.
Most of the articles are innocuous, including topics such as “How to make watermelon pops,” “The French girl’s guide to perfect skin” and “First artificially inseminated penguin born in Japan.”
However some include material parents might not want their children seeing, such as; (“12 awkward things that happen when you have sex with a new partner,” “10 things he thinks when he can’t make you orgasm,” “Everything you wanted to know about penis tattoos.”)
When the suit refers to minors, it means people between the ages of 13 and 18. Under Snapchat’s own Terms of Service, no one under the age of 13 is allowed to create an account on or use the service.
In a statement, Snapchat said that while it hasn’t been served with a complaint in this lawsuit, it is sorry if people are offended. It said its Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something the company supports.