Snapchat Under Investigation For Role In Overdose Deaths
The FBI is investigating Snapchat after several instances of kids overdosing on fentanyl dealt through the app.
Quote of the Day: “They all lost a child to fentanyl poisoning through counterfeit drugs, obtained through Snap, not through Instagram, not through TikTok, but through snap. This isn't an internet problem. This isn't a social media problem. This is a Snapchat [problem].”-Matthew Bergman, attorney for the Social Media Victims Law Center
The Suit Over 50 families are suing snapchat over drug overdose deaths that killed their teens. This comes as the FBI is already investigating Snapchat over concerns that drug dealers are using the social media app to target kids. The families, who filed their suit on Thursday, say dealers used snapchat to communicate with their kids to sell fake prescription drugs, many of which were laced with fentanyl, and that the popular app ultimately helped lead to the deaths of their children. According to a report by ABC News, Snapchat was implicated in 75% of overdose deaths among teens 13 to 18. The main reason for its popularity among drug dealers is that the app has features that are conducive to illegal activity – specifically, messages disappear after being sent, so there’s no evidence of deals. And…Police say it can be hard to track the illicit activity because teens often use an emoji and symbol code to disguise their drug deals. For example, an electrical outlet emoji is code for a hookup to a drug dealer, a pill, parking sign, banana, or blue circle emoji all meant Percocet or Oxycodone. Policymakers Take Notice Both the FBI and the Justice Department announced at the end of January that they are investigating Snapchat over concerns about drug trade on the platform, with a particular focus on dealers who target kids. Congress is also looking into the issue. “With Snapchat, Alex’s normal circle of friends expanded further and began intersecting with abnormal circles,” Amy Neville, the mom of Alex, a 14 year old boy who died from a fentanyl-laced pill, said in her testimony to Congress last month. “It was on Snapchat that Alex was able to visit with dealers and other users. It was on Snapchat that he set up a deal to get pills. It was on Snapchat that he made plans to have the dealer drive up to our house so Alex could sneak out over a couple of minutes one night and get anything he wanted.” Corporate Response Snapchat first publicly addressed the issue in 2021, at which time the company said it had become more aggressive in trying to shut down drug dealers’ accounts and had added measures to make it harder for users to find the Snapchat accounts of minors. Snapchat also said it blocks searches for drugs on the app and redirects them to resources about the dangers of fentanyl.