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Snapchat is an 'open-air drug market': Families of 60 young people who died of fentanyl overdoses sue social media app

Sam Chapman (Image Source: Youtube video screenshot)

Snapchat's parent company, Snap, was recently sued by the families of more than 60 young people who died of fentanyl overdoses.

The families initially filed the lawsuit in October and updated the complaint Tuesday, adding the claim that the social media company has become known as an "open-air drug market."

"Despite Snap promoting and portraying Snapchat as a 'goofy' app for kids to use and send each other silly pictures, its known common use is as an 'open-air drug market,'" the families wrote in their expanded suit.

The updated lawsuit claimed that Snapchat's algorithm and disappearing messages helped to connect youths with drug dealers. According to the victims' families, the social media platform has become the "go-to means to distribute drugs to children, teens, and young adults."

The suit accused Snapchat of being "involved in a far greater number of fentanyl poisoning deaths of U.S. teens than other social media apps. "Snap and Snapchat's role in illicit drug sales to teens was the foreseeable result of the designs, structures, and policies Snap chose to implement to increase its revenues," the lawsuit stated.

The families alleged that drug dealers are abusing Snapchat's automatically deleted messages. In addition, they claimed the feature is marketed to individuals engaging in illegal activities.

"A motivation for Snapchat's disappearing feature — not just disappearing between users but permanently destroyed on the back end as well — was to … provide cover for those engaged in illicit and illegal conduct," the amended filing stated.

The lawsuit also claimed that Snapchat enables drug dealers by notifying them if they receive legal requests regarding their accounts.

"First, Snap notifies drug dealers when they receive a subpoena or other legal requests for their account information, giving them time to alter their action," the suit stated. "Second, in some instances Snap takes months to respond to requests for account information, resulting in material evidence being inaccessible due to Snap's automatic deletion design."

Sam Chapman, whose son unexpectedly passed away in 2021 from fentanyl poisoning, told KTTV that the platform's algorithm and geo-locater are "highly dangerous" features that allow sex traffickers and drug dealers to see where children are located.

Chapman stated that he and the other victims' families are calling for Snap to change the social media platform's algorithm and enable child monitoring software.

Snap told KTTV that the families' lawsuit is "riddled with false claims."

"While we don't typically comment on active litigation, unfortunately this amended filing is riddled with false claims about how the Snapchat app works," Snap stated. "Our ongoing efforts to aggressively combat drug activity on our platform and shut down drug dealers, and our team members' statements. We remain deeply committed to doing our part to fight this urgent crisis."

Drugs & Teens: 65 lawsuits filed against Snapchatyoutu.be

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