Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, is facing legal action from over 60 families who claim that the social media app has an algorithm that facilitates connections between children and drug dealers. The lawsuit was first filed in October 2022 and was recently expanded.
The lawsuit alleges that despite Snapchat being marketed as a fun app for kids, it is known as an “open-air drug market.” The families argue that Snapchat’s algorithm has led to the untimely deaths of some users by connecting them to drug dealers.
These families are calling for a change to the algorithm, as well as the ability to install child monitoring software on the app. They claim that the app’s emojis serve as a code language that connects children with drug dealers. For example, the electric plug emoji can be used to indicate a drug dealer.
Sam Chapman, whose son Sammy died in 2021 from fentanyl poisoning, is among those leading the charge for change. Chapman said, “We’re suing over the non-speech behaviors that endanger children on these platforms.”
Snapchat has responded to the lawsuit, stating that it is committed to fighting drug activity on its platform and shutting down drug dealers. However, the company has not yet addressed the specific allegations made in the lawsuit.
The families hope that their lawsuit will bring about change and raise awareness of the importance of monitoring children’s social media usage. They believe that the algorithm must be changed to prevent further tragedies like the loss of their loved ones.