Mainstream Contributors To Sexual Exploitation

Snapchat Is Dangerous By Design

Year after year, Snapchat is named a top spot for sextortion, sexual interactions between minors and adults, and pornography exposure.

Samantha* chewed her lip as she stared at the request for a sexually explicit video.  

She probably shouldn’t do this. She was only eleven years old. And Matthew was twenty-two. . .  

But this kind of thing was safe on Snapchat, right? The videos would automatically disappear after Matthew looked at them.  

Samantha hit record . . . And then she hit send.  

Immediately, Samantha felt shame and fear wash over her. What would her parents think if they found out? With trembling fingers, Samantha frantically sought out Snapchat’s “My Eyes Only” feature. As she hid the sexually explicit videos in the passcode-protected folder, relief slowly seeped into her body.  

Thank goodness for Snapchat’s brilliant design features . . . Her parents wouldn’t find out. She could continue sending videos to Matthew safely, in peace.  

But she was not safe. And she was not at peace.  

Samantha is a pseudonym, but the narrative is based on true events, as alleged in a lawsuit against Snap (the owner of Snapchat). Samantha’s lawsuit is only one of many, in which the tech company is being sued for causing grave harm to minors—including leading to their sexual exploitation and sometimes death. Samantha herself attempted suicide twice as a result of the exploitation she experienced on Snapchat and other social media platforms.  

Snap knows how dangerous its platform is but has done little to resolve the issues. Instead, Snap continues to keep and even add yet riskier features, such as My Eyes Only, Speed filter, Snap Streaks, and MyAI. 

Research, law enforcement, survivors, lawyers, and other child online safety experts consistently name Snapchat within the top three most dangerous platforms for children—and available data on child online exploitation confirms this assessment.  

Snap must radically reform its platform. Enough is enough!

Review the proof we’ve collected, read our recommendations for improvement, and see our notification letter to Roblox for more details.

See our Notification Letter to Snapchat here.

Take Action

Our Requests for Improvement

Fast Facts

Apple App Store rating: 12+, Google Play Store rating: T, Common Sense Media: 16+ 

#1 parent-reported platform for sharing of child-sex abuse material (Parents Together, April 2023)

#1 platform where most minors reported having an online sexual interaction, #3 for sexual interaction with an adult (Thorn Report, February 2023)

#2 highest platform used for sextortion (Snapchat 38%, Instagram 42%) – “by far the most frequently used social media environments where victims were targeted”

#3 parent-reported platform for sexually explicit requests to children and among the highest rates of parent-reported exposure to inappropriate sexual content


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