Snap must face lawsuit for fentanyl sales on Snapchat, Judge rules

Ruling asserts that Snapchat’s disappearing message feature facilitates illegal drug sales to teenagers
The image shows Snapchat logo on a mobile screen. — Pixabay
The image shows Snapchat logo on a mobile screen. — Pixabay

A California has ruled that Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, must face a lawsuit from the families of the teenagers who died from overdosing on fentanyl they allegedly purchased on the platform.

The verdict was announced during a court hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff, paving the way for the families to lodge petitions against the technology company.

According to CNN, the ruling asserts that the platform’s disappearing message feature has set up a fostering network of illegal drug sales.

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However, the instant messaging app owner claimed that it maintains its commitment to stop drug dealing on the platform, and expressed assurance of its defensive stance against what it termed legally and factually flawed allegations.

Snap in a statement said it closely collaborates with law enforcement to look into any breaches of its anti-drug rules.

Arguing that the claims are “both legally and factually flawed,” it added that it has also deployed technologies to identify and address the activities of drug dealers.

The ruling might make it harder for the tech industry to have legal protection under Section 230 and could lead to social media platforms facing more lawsuits.

Riff's decision obliges Snap to defend itself against accusations like product issues, negligence, and wrongful death.

Favouring the plaintiffs, Riff stated that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protection, doesn't apply in this case. The lawsuit won't be dismissed under this law because it doesn't aim to hold Snap responsible for the content created by third-party drug dealers.