LOS ANGELES – Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, is facing a lawsuit from the families of more than 60 young people who died from fentanyl poisoning. They allege that Snapchat’s disappearing messaging feature is a defective product that facilitates the illegal drug trade.
Emily’s Hope spoke with one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit during a podcast episode of Grieving Out Loud.
Bridgette Norring’s 19-year-old son, Devin, bought what he thought was a Percocet through Snapchat, but it ended up being a deadly dose of fentanyl.
“I said you can’t die from taking a Percocet, but my other child said, ‘Yes, you can, Mom, if it has fentanyl in it.’ I remember turning to a law enforcement officer standing by the door and saying, ‘My son was murdered,’” Bridgette said.
“Something that I think is important to bring up is that these drugs are being delivered to your doorstep by kids who might look just like your kid. They might go to school with your kid. Just because your kid is at home doesn’t mean they’re safe. We thought Devin was at home. He’s safe. What a safer place for him to be on a Friday night. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case because of the way that Snapchat and drug dealers use the platform to bring drugs directly to your home now,” Bridgette’s husband, Tom, said.
The complaint, which is an expanded version of a lawsuit filed in October 2022, now runs 205 pages. It claims that Snap was created with a motive to cover up inappropriate conduct. The co-founders, who were Stanford students at the time, have acknowledged that vanishing photos and messages were critical elements in their design.
“This case is about a social media product, Snapchat, that has caused thousands of American teens to die from fentanyl overdoses. Despite Snap promoting and portraying Snapchat as a ‘goofy’ app for kids to use to send each other silly pictures, its known common use is as an ‘open-air drug market,’” the complaint reads.
NBC News reported that Snap responded with a statement saying that the complaint “is riddled with false claims about how the Snapchat app works.”