Mother Of Teen Bullied On Snapchat Sues App After Son’s Suicide
Snapchat is facing legal action over the death of a 16-year-old boy who was cyberbullied on the app.
Carson Bride died by suicide after suffering several months of abuse on Snapchat’s anonymous messaging app YOLO. His mother is now suing the company, alleging that it facilitates bullying and violated consumer protection law.
In a federal lawsuit filed this month against Snapchat and sister platforms YOLO and LMK, it is revealed that Carson was targeted by abusive messages that included sexual comments and taunts over specific incidents involving him at school.
The use of the anonymous messaging app meant that although Carson knew the messages were coming from someone he knew, he couldn’t identify the bullies or respond to their messages without making the interaction public on the platform and causing further humiliation.
The LA Times reports that, shortly before he took his own life in June last year, Carson googled ‘Reveal YOLO username online’.
Carson’s mother, Kristin, is a co-plaintiff in the new lawsuit brought by the Tyler Clementi Foundation, an anti-bullying charity established in memory of Tyler Clementi, who died by suicide aged 18 after being cyberbullied by a roommate during his freshman year at Rutgers University.
The lawsuit claims that Snapchat’s role as a platform for bullying and harassment campaign means it should be considered a ‘dangerous product’. The co-defendants are seeking for YOLO and LMK to be to be banned, and are also asking for damages.
Court filings seen by the LA Times show the lawsuit alleges Snapchat ‘has reason to know through numerous reports that YOLO and LMK lack adequate safeguards to prevent teen users from being victimized by harassment, sexually explicit materials, and other harm.’
In a statement issued through her lawyers, Kristin Bride said:
The high school students who anonymously cyberbullied Carson will live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives.
However, it is the executives at Snapchat, YOLO, and LMK irresponsibly putting profits over the mental health of young people who ultimately need to be held accountable.
Following his death, Carson’s parents repeatedly tried to contact YOLO to urge them to remove bullies from its platform, but received no reply.
Snapchat is yet to comment on the lawsuit. The company’s guidelines prohibit ‘encouraging or promoting violence, harassment, bullying, hate speech, threats and/or self-harm,’ and warns third-party apps built on its platforms that ‘inadequate safeguards in place to prevent this type of behavior’ are also unacceptable.
If you’ve been affected by bullying and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Bullying UK (part of Family Lives) on 0808 800 2222. The helpline service is open 9am–9pm Monday to Friday and 10am–3pm Saturday and Sunday.
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