Snapchat slapped with a lawsuit for showing sexual content to minors on Discover
Snapchat slapped with a lawsuit for showing sexual content to minors on DiscoverREUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Snapchat has come under fire after a lawsuit was filed on Thursday by a 14-year-old boy and his mother over the sexually explicit content on its Discover channels.

The plaintiffs have accused the photo-and-video sharing app of allegedly exposing minors to sexually explicit content without providing proper warnings to parents, which is a violation of the Communications Decency Act.

"Specifically, through Snapchat Discover, Snapchat is currently engaged in an insidious pattern and practice of intentionally exposing minors to harmful, offensive, prurient, and sexually offensive content, without warning minors or their parents that they would be exposed to such explicit content," the court filing said. "Millions of parents in the United States today are unaware that Snapchat is curating and publishing this profoundly sexual and offensive content to their children."

The plaintiffs, who are being represented by well-known media lawyer Mark Geragos in U.S. District Court of Central California, are seeking class-action status and civil penalties along with a requirement that Snapchat provide an in-app warning about any sexual content.

According to the lawsuit, Snapchat not only makes the sexually offensive content available on the Discover feature, but its services also leads to "problematic communications, such as 'sexting' between minors."

The lawsuit provided a few examples of sexually explicit content, which included an article from the Cosmopolitan magazine titled "10 things he thinks when he can't make you orgasm," and a BuzzFeed feature named "23 pictures that are too real if you've ever had sex with a penis."

Snapchat claimed in a statement to Mashable that the company has not received the complaint, but apologized for any inconvenience caused.

"We haven't been served with a complaint in this lawsuit, but we are sorry if people were offended. Our Discover partners have editorial independence, which is something that we support," the company said.