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Snap Suspends Two Messaging Apps After Cyberbullying Lawsuit

Snapchat recently suspended its two messenger apps YOLO and LMK in response to a lawsuit that claims the apps were used as a means of 😠 cyberbullying. 

Kristin Bride, the mother of a teen who committed suicide last year as a result of cyberbullying, filed the lawsuit Monday. The suit alleges that the apps violated consumer protection law by failing to meet their terms of service and policies. 

This case is part of a new era of legal action that aims to hold social media companies accountable. Despite Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which states that online services are not responsible for their users’ actions, the lawsuit still aims to have the apps 🛑 banned. Here’s what we know about the apps along with the case and the impact of cyberbullying.

What are YOLO and LMK?

YOLO and LMK are anonymous messaging platforms created by third-party developers for the Snap Kit platform, which merges into Snapchat. 

YOLO is an anonymous app that uses Q&A. It allows users to post anonymous 🕵️ questions and comment on other people’s Snapchat stories and attach images. Once you link the app to your Snapchat account, it enables you to “get anonymous messages” and create questions to entice others to reply with “honest messages.” LMK is also an anonymous app that makes use of user polls and Q&As for their Snapchat friends.

Both of these services allow users to communicate anonymously. Although users can send friendly messages, they can also use the apps for 😡 trolling and bullying. Victims receive hurtful messages while the bully and accomplices remain unidentified.

Carson Bride’s Family Files a Lawsuit

The victim of this cyberbullying incident was Carson Bride, a 16-year-old high school student from Oregan. He took his life on 23 June 2020 after being a victim of multiple bullies on Snapchat. 

Carson’s mother, Kristin Bride, filed a lawsuit taking action against the social media company to have the apps banned. According to the suit, the messaging apps need labels as dangerous products due to their facilitation of bullying. Therefore, the lawsuit seeks to have YOLO and LMK prohibited 🙅 from Snapchat immediately, along with other apps that lack defense against cyberbullying. 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act will not provide immunity from the lawsuit as the grievance focuses on the app’s defective design. The suit is not asking for the court to hold the apps responsible for user content.

According to the lawsuit’s complaint, many users submitted customer reviews requesting YOLO to reveal identities or ban abusive users. However, they received no solution or feedback.

Bride’s goal is to establish a class action lawsuit representing users of all three apps. The suit seeks punitive damages for “gross and continued misrepresentation.” It also calls for Snapchat to withdraw YOLO and LMK until they can provide evidence that their anti-bullying safeguards are established and functional. Bride’s co-plaintiff is the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fights ⚔️ cyberbullying and online harassment. 

The Problem of Bullying on Social Media

While online messaging is the primary way teens develop and maintain relationships, this method of connectivity can lead to potential harm in the form of cyberbullying. Name-calling and false rumor-spreading have always been a difficult part of teenage life. But now, the use of social media and smartphones 📱 has changed the way bullying takes place.

Research has shown that 59% of teens in the U.S. have experienced cyberbullying to some extent. The most common form of cyberbullying that teens encounter online is name-calling.

Girls 👧 are more likely to experience different forms of cyberbullying than boys. In addition to these differences among genders, teenagers that are from lower-income families are more at risk of cyberbullying than those from high-income families. However, the experiences that teenagers have of cyberbullying do not differ by race or ethnicity. 

The chances of teens experiencing cyberbullying 😥 vary by how often they go online. For the approximately 45% of teens claim to be online almost constantly, these individuals are at the highest risk of experiencing cyberbullying.

Today, schools, tech companies, and lawmakers are all looking for ways to fight against cyberbullying. This is to prevent such negative behavior and protect others from it.

Need a Social Media Attorney?

Teens are constantly at risk for cyberbullying ⌨️ and online harassment. As much as social media can connect people and enrich life, it can also be used for the opposite.

The use of anonymous messaging apps like YOLO and LMK is a prime example of how harassment can be harmful. And now, many teens are facing the issue of cyberbullying and have no idea who is responsible for their harassment. This can have negative long-lasting effects.

If your child is a victim of cyberbullying or 🖥️ online harassment, you should speak with a social media attorney. Social media companies are not above the law; the court can hold them accountable for breaking their terms of service.