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Social media has largely taken over our daily lives in recent years, enabling us to communicate with individuals around the globe. From Facebook to Instagram, Twitter to TikTok, social media platforms have transmuted the way we interact with one another.
The rise of these social media platforms has proliferated for the past few years. At the same time, the rise of illegal internet activities has also increased. Snapchat’s use by drug dealers to sell illicit drugs is one instance of these unlawful activities.
Though Snapchat has not been involved in these drug sales, the ephemeral nature of Snapchat, which automatically deletes messages and media after they’ve been viewed, has made it an attractive option for drug dealers looking to evade law enforcement.
Therefore, several individuals who were victimized by Snap’s features filed Snapchat lawsuits against the company.
Through this blog, let’s take a closer look at the problem of Snapchat drug dealers and analyze the Snapchat lawsuits connected with this issue.
Background of snapchat
Snapchat is a social media platform created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown while they were students at Stanford University in 2011. Originally called Picaboo, the app was designed as a way for users to share photos that would disappear after a short period.
Snapchat quickly became popular among young people, who appreciated the app’s fun and casual approach to social media. Over time, Snapchat has expanded its features beyond just photo sharing. The app now includes messaging, video chat, and a wide range of filters and lenses that allow users to add fun and creative elements to their photos and videos.
In 2017, parent company Snap Inc. redesigned Snapchat, and the app has continued to evolve and grow in popularity since then. Today, Snapchat has over 500 million monthly active users and is weighed as one of the most favored social media platforms among younger generations.
Legal issues with snapchat
Families of over 50 overdose victims have sued Snapchat, accusing the app of enabling drug dealers. The families claim that the social media platform Snapchat enables drug dealers to sell fake prescription pills laced with deadly doses of fentanyl to minors and young adults.
From 2020 to 2022, Snapchat was involved in over 75 percent of fentanyl poisoning deaths involving children ages 13 to 18.
Some of the Snapchat drug dealers’ lawsuits, which the families of the victims alleged, are as follows;
Humphreys alleged that in June 2021, fake Percocet tablets were sold via Snapchat to her 20-year-old daughter Sophia. She was discovered unconscious in her bed two days later.
“Immediately, the law enforcement took her phone and the detective called us shortly after and said that they were able to see that she had purchased it from a Snapchat dealer,” Humphreys said.
The lawsuit claims Snapchat’s features, like disappearing messages, appeal to drug dealers and make their illegal activity hard to track.
Ciara Gilliam, 22, is known as a cheerful, gregarious girl who could make friends wherever. After taking a Xanax medication that turned out to be laced with fentanyl in August 2022, she passed away.
According to a complaint brought on behalf of Gilliam’s family, the 22-year-old developed an infatuation with using Snapchat and had problems falling asleep.
Moreover, it is alleged in the lawsuit that Snapchat helped her find a dealer that allowed her to start buying Xanax to help with her sleep. The lawsuit alleges that one of those tablets, which she didn’t know was laced with fentanyl, was what killed her.
Furthermore, it alleges that she met strangers using the app who later attacked and mistreated her. According to the lawsuit, one of those persons was a drug dealer from whom Gilliam purchased Xanax to aid her sleep.
A 21-year-old woman from Renton died after allegedly purchasing what she believed to be Percocet via Snapchat, but the pills were laced with lethal doses of fentanyl. The woman had volunteered for Children’s Theater and was pursuing a career in hair and makeup.
The SMVLC (a legal resource for parents of children and teenagers harmed by social media addiction and online abuse) has filed snapchat lawsuits on behalf of 26 families across 11 states, including the woman’s family, alleging that Snapchat’s features enable drug dealers to connect with users and elude police, while obstructing parental supervision and creating unhealthy social media addictions.
The lawsuit is pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The 14-year-old was discovered dead on a bean bag chair when Amy Neville entered her son Alex’s room. He had overdosed on fentanyl, which Neville refers to as “poisoning.”
Using the social media platform Snapchat, Neville claims that her son started experimenting with illegal opiates and other drugs.
Alex was able to communicate with users and dealers using Snapchat. He made arrangements to purchase medications via Snapchat, she claimed.
Alex’s fentanyl seller was never apprehended or charged with a crime. None of Snapchat’s involvement in his passing has been acknowledged.
According to the Social Media Victims Law Centre, Zach Parsons, 21, of Dover, died on April 9th, 2019, from consuming a fake Percocet that was pure fentanyl that he obtained from a drug dealer he was connected to via Snapchat.
On behalf of the families of the 27 juveniles and young people who died after purchasing drugs from criminals, they were linked with on the Snapchat platform, the Social Media Victims Law Centre filed a lawsuit against Snap, Inc. in 13 states.
On Feb. 7, 2021 Dr. Laura Berman and Sam Chapman, lost their 16-year-old son, Sammy, to an overdose. The snapchat features created the perfect environment for his child and others to be preyed upon by drug dealers, Sam Chapman said.
The core allegations: what sparked the legal battle?
The core allegations in the snapchat lawsuits are as follows:
- Failure to prevent drug sales: The snapchat lawsuits alleges that Snap Inc. failed to take sufficient steps to prevent drug dealers from using the Snapchat app to sell drugs, despite being aware of the problem.
- Marketing to minors:The snapchat lawsuits claims that Snap Inc. actively marketed Snapchat to children, so drug dealers could easily access and target young users.
- Conspiracy:The snapchat lawsuits alleges that Snap Inc. conspired with drug dealers by allowing them to use the app to sell drugs in exchange for increased engagement and revenue.
- Negligence:The snapchat lawsuits claims that Snap Inc. was negligent in preventing drug sales on the app and failed to implement reasonable measures to do so.
Snap Inc’s response to the snapchat lawsuits allegations
In response to these allegations, Snap Inc has stated that it takes the issue of illegal drug sales seriously and works diligently to prevent such activity on its platform.
Specifically, Snap Inc has stated that it has implemented various measures to identify and remove content related to illegal drug sales, including using artificial intelligence and human moderators to monitor content and remove any that violates its community guidelines.
In 2018, the app introduced a feature allowing users to report content promoting illegal drug sales. Snapchat also stated it would work with law enforcement agencies to identify and remove drug-related content from its platform.
Comparing the snapchat drug dealer’s lawsuits to similar cases
There have been other cases where social media companies have faced lawsuits related to drug dealers’ use of their platforms.
One notable example is the case of Facebook and Instagram being sued by families of victims of the opioid crisis for allegedly allowing drug dealers to use their platforms to sell drugs. The plaintiffs claimed that the companies did not do enough to prevent the illegal drug sales.
It is crucial to emphasize that none of these cases have resulted in significant legal decisions that would set clear precedents. However, they do raise important questions about social media companies’ responsibility for their users’ actions and the potential risks associated with certain app features.
Can you sue snapchat?
It is not legal to use Snapchat or any other social media platform for illegal activities such as drug deals. If you have information that someone is using Snapchat for illegal activities, you should report it to the authorities.
If Snapchat were to be sued, it would be difficult to hold the corporation liable for the actions of its users. Even so, if you were in any way harmed by illegal activity that took place on Snapchat, you could think about talking with an attorney to explore your options.
How to report a drug dealer on snapchat?
If you believe that someone is using Snapchat to sell drugs, there are a few steps you can take to report it:
- Law enforcement: If you suspect someone is selling narcotics on Snapchat, get in line with your local law enforcement office as soon as you can. They will be able to investigate the scenario and take the required actions.
- Report the user to Snapchat: You can also report the user to Snapchat directly. To do so, go to the user’s profile and click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. From there, select “Report” and choose the appropriate option.
- Provide evidence: If you have any evidence of the drug dealing, such as screenshots or messages, make sure to provide them to law enforcement or Snapchat. This can help in the investigation and prosecution of the offender.
Snapchat drugs are dangerous. Reporting the issue can save lives, and Snapchat banning drug dealers is a step in the right direction. Users of the app can do their part by reporting and bringing awareness to potential threats.
Tech companies have a responsibility to prevent their platforms from being used for illegal activity, and Snapchat’s response to drug dealing on its app highlights the challenges and complexities of this issue. As social media keeps on evolving, it is important that tech companies remain vigilant in combating illegal activity on their platforms to protect their users and society at large.
You should also be aware that on these social media platforms, the person you are conversing with can also be a scammer or a drug dealer.
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