Eisenberg & Baum suing tech companies behind popular teen apps Snapchat, YOLO, and LMK for releasing dangerous anonymous messaging services that breed cyberbullying and caused teen suicide

Case (AI Fairness & Data Privacy Group, Eisenberg & Baum LLP)

Case Name: Bride et al. v. Snap Inc. et al., Case No. 3:21-cv-03473, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Tech Companies behind popular teen apps Snapchat, YOLO, and LMK sued for releasing dangerous anonymous messaging services that breed cyberbullying and caused teen suicide.

Plaintiffs: Estate of Carson Bride, Kristin Bride, Tyler Clementi Foundation

Represented by: Juyoun Han, Eric Baum, Eisenberg & Baum LLP (AI Fairness & Data Privacy Department)

Case Summary:

The class action lawsuit filed on May 10, 2021, asserted that the defendants’ apps were designed to promote cyberbullying and caused danger to young users of the app. It asserts that the app makers' statements that they would remove, ban, and report abusive users were false promises. The lawsuit demands that the apps be discontinued and removed from the market and make changes to its policies and practices. It seeks compensation for Plaintiffs and consumer class (minor users between 13-17 who were recently using the apps) who were misled and harmed.

Write to us to find out more about your rights and the class-action suit. If you experienced similar harm from apps sold by the defendants or by other computer apps, social media platforms, and more, contact us: Juyoun Han (jhan@eandblaw.com).

Case Background:

On June 23, 2020, Carson Bride, a 16-year-old high school student in Portland, Oregon took his own life. In the weeks leading to his death, Carson received almost 100 anonymous messages containing hateful, humiliating and sexually explicit contents via YOLO and LMK -- anonymous messaging apps that are integrated on to Snapchat as add-ons. The complaint alleges that one of the last searches on Carson’s phone was to find a way to reveal the identity of the senders. Though Carson’s parents urgently made reports to YOLO and its founder after Carson’s death asking to unmask the senders of messages so they may be prevented from repeating the same, no one from YOLO responded.

Tyler Clementi Foundation, a national organization that works to end online and offline bullying joins the suit. Tyler took his own life at age 18 after being cyberbullied by his freshman college roommate in 2010. “Digital platforms must adhere to the policies they promise to their customers,” said Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother and co-founder and CEO of the foundation. “While cyberbullying is certainly a very complex problem, the solution does not have to be platforms like Snapchat, YOLO and LMK simply must give the consumer the protections they promise to provide while using their products. We need everyone to work together to make sure our youth are safe.”

Cited throughout the complaint, numerous reports and studies link anonymous messaging platforms to teen suicide, and customer reviews reveal the harm that teens had to suffer. “Anonymous apps allow bullies to harass their victims around the clock, silently and in the safety of their own homes and in front of a larger public audience, which only intensifies the trauma and humiliation,” Carson’s mother, Kristin Bride said. “The high school students who anonymously cyberbullied Carson will live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. However, it is the executives at Snapchat, Yolo, and LMK irresponsibly putting profits over the mental health of young people who ultimately need to be held accountable.”

The class has not yet been certified and class action notices have not been circulated.

Complaint:

Press:

A teen who was bullied on Snapchat died. His mom is suing to hold social media liable. LA Times (May 10)

"Snap, facing a lawsuit, suspends integrations with anonymous messaging apps." NY Times (May 12)

"Snapchat Suspends Q&A Apps YOLO and LMK After Mother Sues for Teen's Suicide" Newsweek (May 13)

"Online school raises new concerns about cyberbullying", The Hill (May 21)

"Mother of cyberbullied teen sues Snap, other apps after son takes own life" USA Today (May 11)

"Snap Puts Yolo, LMK on Hold After Teen Bullying Class Suit Filed", Bloomberg Law (May 11)

"California mom accuses Snapchat of facilitating cyberbullying after teen son dies by suicide", Fox Business (May 12)

"Snap suspends Yolo, LMK anonymous messaging apps after lawsuit over teen’s death", Ars Technica (May 12)

"Snap suspends two anonymous messaging apps after cyberbullying lawsuit", Verge (May 12)

"Snap blocks messaging apps YOLO and LMK after Oregon mom sued them over the suicide of her 16-year-old son who suffered months of abuse from anonymous bullies", Daily Mail (May 12)

"Mother of Teen Who Was Bullied on Snapchat Sues App After Son’s Suicide", Complex (May 10)

"Suit: Lake Oswego teen dies after Snapchat cyberbullying", Portland Tribune (May 21)

Please forward all media inquiries to the law firm. Tel: (212) 353-8700.

Eisenberg & Baum LLP

24 Union Square E. Penthouse

New York, NY 10003

Disclaimer: Any communication with the firm does not create an attorney-client relationship absent the firm’s completion of a check for conflicts of interest and the execution of a formal retainer agreement. Past results of the firm do not reflect future outcomes.

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