The lawsuit was filed in Northern California, and outlines how Bride’s 16-year-old son, Carson, took his own life as a result of ongoing, anonymous harassment. The suit could gain traction as a class action, considering additional reports of five other teens who apparently died by suicide as a result of cyberbullying.
These third-party Q&A apps, allow users to send anonymous messages to each other. Despite being inundated with mocking messages of a violent and sexual nature from unknown users, Carson refused to reply to them because the YOLO app would then make the original message public on his page.
“We found out that, in the last days of Carson’s life, he was desperately reaching out to friends to learn who was harassing him and searching for YOLO hacks to find a way to identify his tormentors. He never did, and, in the end, it was more than a 16-year-old who was seeking real friendship and connection could handle,” Bride said in a statement to Fox Business.
Snapchat has since suspended both YOLO and LMK from its platform, according to a company spokesperson.
“In light of the serious allegations raised by the lawsuit, and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the Snapchat community, we are suspending both YOLO and LMK’s Snap Kit integrations while we investigate these claims,” the spokesperson said.
However, for Bride, it’s too little, too late when it comes to cyberbullying on Snapchat, YOLO and LMK.
“We are attentive parents, but this anonymous cyberbullying was silently occurring without our knowledge,” Bride said. “If this tragedy happened to us, it could happen to anyone. By bringing this lawsuit, I hope to hold Snap Inc., YOLO and LMK accountable for the dangerous and harmful products that they have created and for their inability to enforce the safety policies they promote to teens.”
Attorneys Juyoun Han and Eric Baum at Eisenberg & Baum LLP said in a statement that “anonymous messaging apps promote bullying by allowing aggressors to hide behind their screens while subverting parents’ and schools’ abilities to protect children.”
While these social media apps have policies against cyberbullying and harassment, Bride’s lawyers allege that the apps were “unable or unwilling to take action and carry out their promises to safeguard children” and “provide the means … for cyberbullying.”
The lawsuit notes that while Snapchat has an age requirement of 13, there is no age verification process on the app. “Mobile apps such as Snapchat, YOLO, and LMK have designed and marketed anonymous apps to minors without proper safeguards. This suit alerts public consumers of the harms caused by the apps and demands that the apps’ developers be stopped from prioritizing profit over the lives and mental health of children,” the attorneys said.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).